The Alchemist: A Fable about following your dream

|
Dreams, symbols, signs, and adventure follow the reader like echoes of ancient wise voices in "The Alchemist", a novel that combines an atmosphere of Medieval mysticism with the song of the desert. With this symbolic masterpiece Coelho states that we should not avoid our destinies, and urges people to follow their dreams, because to find our "Personal Myth" and our mission on Earth is the way to find "God", meaning happiness, fulfillment, and the ultimate purpose of creation.

The novel tells the tale of Santiago, a boy who has a dream and the courage to follow it. After listening to "the signs" the boy ventures in his personal, Ulysses-like journey of exploration and self-discovery, symbolically searching for a hidden treasure located near the pyramids in Egypt.

When he decides to go, his father's only advice is "Travel the world until you see that our castle is the greatest, and our women the most beautiful". In his journey, Santiago sees the greatness of the world, and meets all kinds of exciting people like kings and alchemists. However, by the end of the novel, he discovers that "treasure lies where your heart belongs", and that the treasure was the journey itself, the discoveries he made, and the wisdom he acquired.

"The Alchemist", is an exciting novel that bursts with optimism; it is the kind of novel that tells you that everything is possible as long as you really want it to happen. That may sound like an oversimplified version of new-age philosophy and mysticism, but as Coelho states "simple things are the most valuable and only wise people appreciate them".

As the alchemist himself says, when he appears to Santiago in the form of an old king "when you really want something to happen, the whole universe conspires so that your wish comes true". This is the core of the novel's philosophy and a motif that echoes behind Coelho's writing all through "The Alchemist". And isn't it true that the whole of humankind desperately wants to believe the old king when he says that the greatest lie in the world is that at some point we lose the ability to control our lives, and become the pawns of fate. Perhaps this is the secret of Coelho's success: that he tells people what they want to hear, or rather that he tells them that what they wish for but never thought possible could even be probable.

Coelho also suggests that those who do not have the courage to follow their " Personal Myth", are doomed to a life of emptiness, misery, and unfulfillment. Fear of failure seems to be the greatest obstacle to happiness. As the old crystal-seller tragically confesses: " I am afraid that great disappointment awaits me, and so I prefer to dream". This is where Coelho really captures the drama of man, who sacrifices fulfillment to conformity, who knows he can achieve greatness but denies to do so, and ends up living a life of void.

It is interesting to see that Coelho presents the person who denies to follow his dream as the person who denies to see God, and that "every happy person carries God within him". However, only few people choose to follow the road that has been made for them, and find God while searching for their destiny, and their mission on earth.

Consequently, is Coelho suggesting that the alchemists found God while searching for the elixir of life and the philosopher's stone? What is certain is that the symbolism of the text is a parallel to the symbolism and the symbolic language of alchemism, and similarly the symbolism of dreams is presented as " God's language".

It is also symbolic that Santiago finds his soul-mate, and the secrets of wisdom in the wilderness of the desert. The "wilderness" is a symbol that has been used by many great writers e.g.. Austen in "Mansfield Park", and Shakespeare in "King Lear". In the desert, Santiago meets his "twin-soul" and discovers that love is the core of existence and creation. As Coelho explains, when we love, we always try to improve ourselves, and that's when everything is possible. The subject of love inspires a beautiful lyricism in Coelho's writing: " I love you because the whole universe conspired for me to come close to you."

"The Alchemist" is a novel that may appeal to everybody, because we can all identify with Santiago: all of us have dreams, and are dying for somebody to tell us that they may come true. The novel skillfully combines words of wisdom, philosophy, and simplicity of meaning and language, which makes it particularly readable and accounts for its bestselling status.

23 comments:

文章 said...

Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm...................................................

唱歌 said...

來給你加加油~打打氣!!!更新之餘,也要注意休息哦~~ ..................................................

老了一歲 said...

喘口氣,看個文章,謝謝您的格子囉~~ ........................................

class said...

每一粒厄運的種子,卻包孕著未來豐盛的果實..................................................

v奎峰奎峰 said...

I do like ur article~!!! ........................................

明儒明儒 said...

hello~welcome my world~<. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

采瑩 said...

一沙一世界,一花一天堂,掌中握無限,剎那即永恆..................................................

湖聿湖聿 said...

世間事沒有一樣沒有困難,只要有信心去做,至少可以做出一些成績。......................................................

Angelo冠宇 said...

能付出愛心就是福;能消除煩惱就是慧。.............................................

CameliaS佳宣 said...

好的部落格就要和好朋友分享--感謝分享.........................

寶堅強皓 said...

雖然不能常常來看,仍然祝你人氣百分百 ........................................

柏WallaceD_Garbut信WallaceD_Garbutt1031 said...

當身處逆境時,要能忍一時之氣,吃一時之苦,並及早確立自己的目標,總有一天,你會嘗到那甘美的果實。........................................

玫友 said...

當一個人內心能容納兩樣相互衝突的東西,這個人便開始變得有價值了。..................................................................

佳燕 said...

知識可以傳授,智慧卻不行。每個人必須成為他自己。....................................................................

怡潔 said...

河水永遠是相同的,可是每一剎那又都是新的。......................................................................

珍昕珍昕 said...

成熟,就是有能力適應生活中的模糊。.................................................................

王名仁 said...

向著星球長驅直進的人,反比踟躕在峽路上的人,更容易達到目的。............................................................

玉苓玉苓 said...

有夢最美啦~~加油!元氣滿點!..................................................

JasonBirk佳琪 said...

蛛絲馬跡皆學問、落花水面皆文章............................................................

JasonBirk佳琪 said...

來幫忙你衝人氣~順便留言支持你 ..................................................................

佩璇佩璇 said...

加油!!! 很棒的分享~..................................................

吳婷婷 said...

變天了~~注意身體,別感冒囉!.......................................................

Jitendra Gupta said...

very nice review;;
i had read this novel twice;;