International translated novel in history. More importantly, Coelho’s
International Bestselling Phenomenon, The Alchemist, written by Paulo Coelho is about a shepherd, Santiago that fulfills his Personal Legend by following a recurring dream, of a treasure hidden underneath the Egyptian Pyramids. During the quest, Santiago encounters a Gypsy Woman, the King of Salem, a Crystal Merchant, an Englishman, an Alchemist and his true love Fatima that all play a role in helping Santiago discover the Soul of the World, which is a form of the spiritual forces that have the voice of omens. Fortunately, the real treasure is Santiago’s journey itself as he undergoes personal evolution and self-discovery. In relation to the storyline, the author Paulo Coelho had always dreamt of fulfilling his devotion towards artistic literature. Coelho had worked in journalism and music; traveling the different corners of the world. In 1951, Coelho wrote his first novel “The Pilgrimage: The Diary of Magus”, highlighting his experiences and discoveries traveling through Northern Spain and visiting Santiago de Compostela. A year later, Coelho wrote the “The Alchemist”, which sold millions of copies in numerous languages, setting the Guinness World Record for the most translated novel in history. More importantly, Coelho’s novel became a worldwide favorite because of his genuine intention to help people find contentment and follow their dreams. Unfortunately, in Coelho’s situation, his parents were against the dream of becoming an author and took his diligence as a sign of a mental disorder. Coelho visited numerous mental institutions and he even endured electroconvulsive therapy. These are shocks applied to a patient’s brain to aid mental illnesses. Years later, Coelho finally had the courage to leave his home and family in search for the purpose of his life. In textual reference, Coelho wanted to discover and pursue his Personal Legend. Thus, the story of the Alchemist is a metaphor representing Coelho’s journey of becoming an author. Not only does Personal Legends embody the form of metaphors, but is also portrayed in a thematic manner. This form is clearly depicted in this passage, “Let’s say that the most important is that you have succeeded in discovering your Personal Legend.” The boy didn’t know what a person’s “Personal Legend” was. It’s what you have always wanted to accomplish.Everyone, when they are young, knows what their Personal Legend is. “At that point in their lives, everything is clear and everything is possible. They are not afraid to dream, and to yearn for everything they would like to see happen to the, in their lives. But, as time passes, a mysterious force begins to convince them that it will be impossible for them to realize their Personal Legend.” (Coelho 22)Now, after reading this passage can any of you determine the one pivotal literary term that you may have picked up on. Okay, well as many of you have already guessed, The Alchemist is truly an allegory as it refers to one’s beliefs and today’s concepts of life. To elaborate, humans have Personal Legends that they wish to attain, however as an obstacle arises, one let’s their dreams escape. In some cases when humans become determined to pursue their dreams, they begin to settle the expedition of a mission without realizing the beauty and intelligence that follows. Therefore, Coelho communicates that humans must discover their Personal Legends to successfully identify their primitive voices and act according to their heart. Media Piece:Now, moving on to the Media Piece of my Presentation, I will be discussing vital concepts and characters that have shaped Santiago’s journey in not only self-discovery, but achieving his Personal Legend.To begin with, Santiago first meets Melchizedek, the King of Salem, in Pursuit of his recurring dream. Melchizedek introduces remarkable ideas to the story, such as, Personal Legends, the Soul of the World, and Beginner’s Luck. On the other hand, a biblical allusion is portrayed in the text, as it is known that when Abraham returned from a battle fought for his nephew; Melchizedek blessed Abraham and brought him bread and wine. In return, Abraham gifted Melchizedek one-tenth of his riches from the victory of the battle. Similarly, in The Alchemist, Melchizedek also asks Santiago for one-tenth of his sheeps, as he blesses him with the essential religious power he has. The King of Salem is an immortal being, helping people for centuries to fulfill their Personal Legends. Despite this, if you look at the three individual stills, they all portray an artist’s perspective on Melchizedek’s appearance, allowing every image to present him differently. Also, the lighting and color palette of those three images are bright and glaring; similar to an image of a warrior. Therefore, the artists try to evoke a positive and virtuous mood, by presenting the King of Salem in a positive light. Alongside, if you take a look at the central image, it represents the image of Melchizedek blessing Abraham. This image. in particular, characterizes Melchizedek as a Godly figure, as he looks up to the light of omens, placing his hand on Abrahams head. Similarly, Abraham grateful for his blessings, places his hand on his heart and graciously accepts it.Once Santiago arrives in the Sahara Desert, he begins to learn that all elements of life; such as humans, animals and even objects, speak a common universal language. Santiago learns to understand the signs of mother nature, while following the desert and his heart, which all convey the language of the world. As a result, this universal language allows Santiago to enter The Soul of the World, a method of how God connects all elements of life together. The Alchemist’s portrayal of the Universal Language and the Soul of the World demonstrate the interconnection of life; a crucial theme depicted in the text. Similarly, the Alchemist also teaches Santiago authentic practices of alchemy, such as the purification and transformation of metals into gold; a metaphor symbolizing Santiago’s evolution. Hence, he is able to harmonize himself with the voice of omens and his heart. The alchemist teaches Santiago, that he must understand the affiliation of the universe, as the world itself will help individuals access the totality of creation. In connection with the images, they all represent a piece of Santiago’s ability to understand the interconnection of life. To elaborate, if you focus on the images to the far right, they represent Santiago’s spiritual transformation, as he truly grew from an ordinary piece of lead, into a precious piece of gold. The process of alchemy and the fulfillment of one’s Personal Legend has been in this universe throughout history. Therefore, the images are gloomy and old, presenting a different time period. In the center, I chose the focal point of the text, which is the sycamore tree Santiago first has a dream under. More importantly, the circular rainbow in the image, represents the nature of the text. For example, the story first begins through Santiago’s dream of a treasure chest that is located underneath the Egyptian Pyramids, however, the dream’s purpose was not to reveal the treasure chest, but instead, enlighten Santiago regarding his Personal Legend. In reality, the actual treasure chest is located under the sycamore tree, where Santiago first has his dream. Finally, the first two images symbolize Santiago’s successful attempt at understanding the Universe and it’s omens because he is able to recognize himself and the treasure, showing the transition from the right side to the left. Maktub, a word originated in Arabic, meaning it is written, plays an essential role in shaping the storyline, while embodying the form of a theme. As the text develops, Santiago learns that fate will interact with individuals who are in pursuit of their Personal Legends. Maktub may be a difficult concept to understand, as it combines both transformation and permanence. In other words, it ensures that the future is not completely established or written in a system that is eternal as this is a method for people to communicate with the Language of the World. This theory plays a vital role in the religion of Islam, as their followers believe that Maktub is a major element of one’s destiny and no external force can disrupt the chain of events. Not even the individual has the ability to change their own destiny. Ultimately, Islam followers presume that their actuality is already written and proclaimed by God. Thus, they are assertive of their fortune, as they have eternal faith on their religion. To demonstrate this theme, I have used images symbolizing Islam, such as their flag, technique of praying and Maktub, written in the Arabic language. Islam plays a major role in shaping the Alchemist as it enlightens the audience through it’s fine teachings of the Koran. For example, Santiago first learns this word, through the Crystal Merchant, who expresses, “The Prophet gave us the Koran, and left us just five obligations to satisfy during our lives. The most important is to believe in one true God. The others are to pray five times a day, fast during Ramadan, be charitable to the poor and make a Pilgrimage to Mecca” (Coelho 55-56). The Crystal Merchant, Personal Legend was to make a Pilgrimage to Mecca, however, he fears to pursue his dream, since he believes that he will no longer have a purpose of living. Therefore, he relies on his religion and fate because if it is written, he will certainly make a Pilgrimage one day.