Questions and Answers for The Alchemist

The Alchemist

Explain quote in your own words: "The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world, and never forget...

In Paulo's Coelho's The Alchemist, the King of Salem (Melchizedek) tells Santiago the story of a boy who is told by the "wisest of wisemen" that he must carry oil on a spoon while he sees the...

Latest answer posted August 18, 2011 4:21 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

In Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist, what is meant by the "language of the world?"

In Coelho's The Alchemist, the language of the world is the way all things communicate because all things are one. Santiago tries to tell the Englishman this. In his turn, the Englishman tells...

Latest answer posted June 18, 2013 3:38 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

In Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist, what is a Personal Legend?  

In Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist, Santiago first hears about Personal Legends from the King of Salem, Melchizedek, who tells him the following: "But, as time passes, a mysterious force begins to...

Latest answer posted September 22, 2016 12:32 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Alchemist

What lessons does Santiago learn by working for the crystal merchant? i need 4 things he learned

The power of action. It's not enough to have dreams; you have to be prepared to take action to make those dreams come true. The Crystal Merchant is a Muslim and yet has never been on the Haj to...

Latest answer posted October 9, 2017 1:00 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

What are 5 lessons Santiago learns in The Alchemist?

One of the most valuable lessons Santiago learns in The Alchemist is the notion that fear is part of living a meaningful life. It is worse to not achieve his goals out of fear than to face fear,...

Latest answer posted October 2, 2018 8:24 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Alchemist

In "The Alchemist", what is the Universal Language?

In The Alchemist the overriding trope of the universality of man's desire--"the soul of the universe"--is the universal language. "And when you want something," [the wise King of Salem]...

Latest answer posted December 19, 2016 6:04 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Alchemist

Who should not read the book THE ALCHEMIST by Paul Coelho? Can you give me 3 example of who should not read the book...

I think The Alchemist is for people who want to examine the meaning of life. I guess you could argue that a person whose philosophy is that ignorance is bliss would not appreciate it. The person...

Latest answer posted January 9, 2013 9:10 pm UTC

4 educator answers

The Alchemist

In Coelho's The Alchemist, why is it significant that Santiago's treasure is not buried where he thought it was, but...

Coelho's The Alchemist relies on quite a number of literary devices to impart the story's themes and messages to the reader. For instance, there are many Biblical allusions that reflect similar...

Latest answer posted June 19, 2013 4:36 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

In The Alchemist, why does the old fortune teller say that Santiago’s dream is difficult to interpret?

Other than the fact that Santiago's dream involves the simple things in life, the gypsy woman also realizes that his dream is "in the language of the world." She goes on to say that she "can...

Latest answer posted November 30, 2017 4:27 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Alchemist

What tests and setbacks does Santiago experience on his journey?

I would say that Santiago's first test is getting up the courage to tell his father that he wants to leave and travel the world. He knows that it will disappoint and perhaps even anger his father,...

Latest answer posted April 26, 2016 2:37 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

In The Alchemist, how did the alchemist help Santiago?

The primary way that the Alchemist helps Santiago is that he teaches the boy the importance of believing in himself. On their numerous excursions into the desert, the Alchemist shows Santiago that...

Latest answer posted March 6, 2020 5:46 pm UTC

4 educator answers

The Alchemist

Define the word "oasis" and explain what it has to do with the novel.

The dictionary defines an oasis as a fertile spot in a desert where water is found, therefore supporting vegetation. The oasis gives refuge to travelers as it provides food and shelter. In the book...

Latest answer posted July 12, 2019 4:40 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Alchemist

In Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist, how old is Santiago when the story begins? How do you know?

In Paulo Coelho's novel The Alchemist, it can often times be misleading in trying to ascertain the age of Santiago for he is often times referred to as "the boy." There are probably several reasons...

Latest answer posted August 23, 2011 1:59 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

What lessons does Santiago learn by working at the crystal shop in The Alchemist?

Santiago learns a bit about Personal Legends and omens from the crystal merchant; however, I do not think that is the most valuable thing that Santiago learns from the crystal merchant. I think the...

Latest answer posted September 14, 2018 3:40 pm UTC

3 educator answers

The Alchemist

In The Alchemist, when Santiago is robbed in Tangier, he has to take a menial job with the crystal merchant. There,...

How do you explain how a book can be viewed? First, look for central themes or repeated motifs (that is, ideas that the writer thoroughly investigates). Second, support your explanation using...

Latest answer posted October 12, 2018 6:25 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Alchemist

What is the main conflict in The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho?

I believe that the main conflict in Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist is Santiago's personal, inner struggle with completing his Personal Legend. That internal man vs. self conflict is constantly...

Latest answer posted August 21, 2016 7:22 pm UTC

3 educator answers

The Alchemist

In The Alchemist, Melchizedek tells Santiago the fable of the oil and the spoon. Santiago believes he understands the...

Melchizedek speaks to Santiago and tells him a wise parable about a boy wishing to gain wisdom, so he goes to speak with a wise man. The man has the young boy carry a spoonful of two drops of oil...

Latest answer posted August 19, 2019 11:55 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Alchemist

In The Alchemist, what was the point of the boy becoming the wind?

The final test that Santiago undergoes in this story is to transform himself into the wind. This is something that he is only able to do with the help of the desert, the sun and the wind, and this...

Latest answer posted July 1, 2013 6:15 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

What are some personality traits of the Alchemist in the book The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho?

The Alchemist is a very wise man, a man who only ever speaks the truth. Despite his great wisdom and magical powers he doesn't seek fame or fortune. He's a very humble man who happily gives of...

Latest answer posted November 20, 2018 12:03 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Alchemist

Who is Melchizedek and what role does he play in the Old Testament?

Melchizedeck is the first priest ("the priest of the most high God") mentioned in the Old Testament. The story of the encounter between Melchizedeck and Abraham (then called Abram) is in chapter 14...

Latest answer posted September 7, 2019 4:44 pm UTC

3 educator answers

The Alchemist

What does the old man mean when he says that “treasure is uncovered by the force of flowing water, and it is buried...

The quote is meant to emphasize the duality of everything. It's reminiscent of a Yin and Yang style of thought. The flowing water is neither bad nor good. It simply is, but it has the power or...

Latest answer posted April 26, 2016 1:02 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Alchemist

What is the story of the Baker in The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho?

The baker's story is Melchizedek's life lesson to Santiago about the fleeting nature of life and the need to "seize the day" while one still has the passion to experience fulfillment. Melchizedek...

Latest answer posted April 27, 2018 7:55 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Alchemist

What advice does the alchemist give about listening to one's heart?  

As Santiago and the alchemist are traveling through the desert towards the pyramids, they have a discussion about listening to one's heart. The boy is closer than ever to finding his treasure and...

Latest answer posted April 26, 2016 2:38 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

What places does Santiago visit during his journey in Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist?

In Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist, Santiago visits several places. We know that Santiago (the boy) has become a shepherd in order to travel, and that he lives in Spain. We learn, also, that he has...

Latest answer posted August 26, 2011 1:30 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

What is the climax and resolution of The Alchemist?

Throughout the novel The Alchemist, Santiago is searching for treasure. Along the way, however, he is learning lessons from a variety of teachers and is trying to understand alchemy and the...

Latest answer posted August 11, 2019 2:01 pm UTC

4 educator answers

The Alchemist

How is the girl named Fatima related to Santiago's journey? And what is her physical description in Coelho's The...

Fatima is the woman that nearly derails Santiago from going on his quest to find treasure at the Pyramids. He and Fatima find true love, and Santiago nearly decides to abandon his personal legend...

Latest answer posted August 15, 2018 2:49 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

Maktub

"Maktub" loosely translates to "it is written" in English. It doesn't necessarily mean something has actually been written down on a piece of paper or stone tablet. It's more of a destiny thing....

Latest answer posted December 23, 2015 2:52 pm UTC

3 educator answers

The Alchemist

What is the purpose of fate and free will in The Alchemist?

In Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist, the word fate isn't used, but the theme most closely linked to it is Personal Legend. The premise behind achieving one's Personal Legend is that everyone has one,...

Latest answer posted March 9, 2016 6:22 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

What is Santiago's biggest fear?

In Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist, the main character, Santiago, has many fears. Santiago's main fear is failure. He frequently worries that he is making the wrong choices and that the choices he...

Latest answer posted January 2, 2019 6:00 pm UTC

3 educator answers

The Alchemist

What do Santiago's parents plan for him, and how does he change that plan?

Santiago's parents want him to become a priest, so he attends the seminary until he is sixteen years old. While in the seminary, Santiago learns to read. While it is a great honor and...

Latest answer posted November 24, 2018 11:33 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Alchemist

How does the Englishman help Santiago on his journey in The Alchemist?

The Englishman teaches Santiago that there is a principle that governs the universe. He tells Santiago that, in alchemy, the force that rules all things is called the Soul of the World. When you...

Latest answer posted May 20, 2019 2:22 pm UTC

3 educator answers

The Alchemist

From Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist, what is significant about the use of the Urim and Thummim, and how can the stones...

For a book with a lot of magical realism in it, Coelho's The Alchemist also has many religious symbols presented from Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Paganism. The Urim and Thummim are symbols...

Latest answer posted November 7, 2013 4:22 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

In Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist, how is the word "maktub" used?

In Paoulo Coelho's The Alchemist, the word "maktub" is first introduced to Santiago (the boy) by the crystal merchant. The boy hears it later spoken around the campfire as he (and the Englishman)...

Latest answer posted August 17, 2011 2:03 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

What are Santiago's personal flaws in The Alchemist by Coelho; what holds the character back from reaching his goals?

In Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist, there seem to be very few things that hold the character back from achieving his goals. In terms of personal "flaws," he trusts too easily and he experiences...

Latest answer posted July 6, 2011 4:33 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

Some readers consider the end of Coelho's The Alchemist to be a bit of a let down; what other kind of treasure could...

In Paulo Coelho's novel, The Alchemist, some might expect something more exciting at the end of the story. I cannot imagine any other treasure that Santiago could ask for. He knows that when he...

Latest answer posted October 6, 2011 12:46 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

How does the story about the miner and the emerald connect to Santiago’s situation in The Alchemist by Paul Coelho?

Santiago is desperately searching for some treasure or reward throughout the story The Alchemist. Ironically, his journey takes him all the way to the middle of the African desert, where he...

Latest answer posted August 21, 2019 5:40 pm UTC

4 educator answers

The Alchemist

What advice does the king of Salem give Santiago regarding happiness in The Alchemist?

Melchizedek, a personal spirit who appears to Santiago in Tarifa, claims to be the King of Salem. He and Santiago spend little time together, but during their interaction, Melchizedek passes on...

Latest answer posted April 26, 2019 1:28 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Alchemist

How does a lesson the Alchemist taught Santiago save his life?

Early in the novel The Alchemist, the titular character tells Santiago that "When you possess great treasures within you, and try to tell others of them, seldom are you believed." This simple...

Latest answer posted September 29, 2018 4:28 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

What point does the old man make in the story about the boy in the castle and the drops of oil?  How might the old...

The story is a great story with a wonderful lesson. In the story, a boy is told to carry a spoonful of oil around a castle. He is specifically told not to drop any of the oil. When he returns,...

Latest answer posted April 26, 2016 1:34 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

In Coelho's The Alchemist, what does Melchizedek consider to be "the world's great lie?

In the novel The Alchemist, much of the story revolves around a theme of fate and predestination. Santiago believes for a vast majority of the tale that he is being guided by fate and that he can...

Latest answer posted August 16, 2019 8:11 pm UTC

3 educator answers

The Alchemist

What do you think about the camel driver's philosophy of life in The Alchemist? What are the advantages and...

In chapter six of The Alchemist, the camel driver tells Santiago his story as the caravan crosses the Sahara. He had been a prosperous farmer and had even earned enough to make the Muslim's...

Latest answer posted June 9, 2017 11:30 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

Why does Coelho open with the modified myth of Narcissus? How does the new version differ from the original one? How...

Coelho's opening with a revised version of the Narcissus myth invites us, as the story begins, to be open to seeing the world from a new perspective. In the original myth, Narcissus is beautiful...

Latest answer posted October 26, 2019 4:09 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Alchemist

In Coelho's The Alchemist, what is the author saying about the role of love in general through the character of Fatima?

In Coelho's The Alchemist, the author's message regarding love is two-fold. About love in general, the reader learns that it is the one constant in the world. When the desert asks Santiago to...

Latest answer posted June 15, 2013 5:51 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

What two stones does the king of Salem give Santiago and what do they represent in The Alchemist?

The king of Salem gives Santiago a white stone and a black stone to help him read the omens to find his treasure. Santiago is a young shepherd boy in search of treasure. He had a dream that there...

Latest answer posted June 26, 2013 12:05 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

Why does Coelho open with the modified myth of Narcissus?

The short prologue of The Alchemist sets up much of the novel that follows. It does not tell the reader anything about the plot of the book; instead, it briefly introduces us to some of its central...

Latest answer posted October 21, 2019 4:26 am UTC

3 educator answers

The Alchemist

What is Santiago's dream in Coelho's The Alchemist?

The story opens with Santiago at a dilapidated church where he stays for the night with his sheep. He dreams a dream for the second time here and decides to go to a gypsy in town to have it read...

Latest answer posted May 16, 2016 12:13 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Alchemist

Referring to Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist, is it possible to live a fulfilling life without ever achieving your...

The story makes it clear that one cannot attain complete fulfillment without pursuing one's Personal Legend. While those who don't are not necessarily miserable wrecks, they do have a sense of...

Latest answer posted May 25, 2019 4:45 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Alchemist

When Does The Alchemist Take Place

Spain, the 1700's, presumably. This was a pretty tough answer to find, so I hope the one reference helps you out. Sara

Latest answer posted November 12, 2008 12:30 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

What are three things that Santiago sees now that he had never noticed before in Coelho's The Alchemist?

One of the most defining and refining moments for Santiago is when he is presented with the task to turn himself into the wind in order to save his and the alchemist's life from the tribesmen....

Latest answer posted October 2, 2012 8:40 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Alchemist

In Coelho's The Alchemist, how are Santiago’s sheep important? What lessons has he learned from them and how do they...

At the beginning of Coelho's The Alchemist, Santiago has been a shepherd for two years. This is a good amount of time to acquire many experiences and skills with any job. And Santiago is a true...

Latest answer posted December 9, 2015 5:38 pm UTC

1 educator answer

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