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In this sense, the story is subscribed to the science fiction type, without however being an actual science fiction novel. In general terms, SF novels focus on "some imaginary time or place. In its original usage in the 1920s, science fiction referred to stories that appeared in cheap, so-called pulp magazines, but science fiction now appears in all media, including motion pictures, staged dramas, television programs, and video games, as well as short stories and book-length works" (Scribd., n.d.). Therefore, it can be pointed out that there are some elements of the science fiction, even if these are not strictly related to films that were afterwards made such as the Star Wars that was one of the most important creations of this kind.
The novel reflects elements of supernatural through the characters it presents as well as the situations through which Santiago goes through. More precisely, the fact that he takes one of the first journeys through the desert is relevant. The desert is often associated with ghostly apparitions, unreal which often plays with the mind of the human. Also, the desert is seen as great challenge for the human because the living conditions are often very difficult and take the resistance of the human being to the limit. This can be interpreted, as being one hurdle the main character has to overcome.
Another aspect that is important is the presence of the witch that foresees the future. Thus, when Santiago went to have his dreams interpreted, the witch asked for part of his treasure when he finds it. This comes to point out not necessarily a material reward, as the treasure to be found was more or less symbolic. The presence of the witch stands for a type of symbolic guide to his treasure and to his voyage.
Another character that can be considered important is that of Fatima, the beautiful woman Santiago meets in the desert. This woman can be associated with the typical apparitions that are sometimes seen in the desert because of heat and dehydration. She may symbolize the temptation Santiago is faced to deal in his pursuit of his dream. She represents a challenge he overcomes in order to move forward. Such symbols are visible throughout the literature especially that related to fairy tales or medieval knights. They are trials knights have to pass in order to prove their courage and determination to finalize the mission.
The book also presents several life stories and teachings related to the way in which Santiago manages to find his way to the treasure, to himself. More precisely, the actual title of the book is inspired by the main element that manages to keep him focus on his path. In this sense, the alchemist, as understood in the traditional craftsman that transforms metals into precious metals is a fine observant of the process of transformation. He observes the entire aspect with such detail, that he eventually forgets everything else. The book emphasizes this matter as "the alchemists spent years in their laboratories, observing the fire that purified the metals. They spent so much time close to the fire that gradually they gave up the vanities of the world. They discovered that the purification of the metals had led to a purification of themselves" (Coelho, 1995). Thus, one of the most important aspects to be bore in mind is related to the dedication one must have in order to attain his goal.
Finally, the novel also makes the connection between life and fantasy through the numerous observations related to a fairy like world of crystals, treasures, gypsies, beautiful women, wise men. All these aspects are not often met in a real world-based novel.
Overall, it can be concluded that Coelho's novel is indeed an important piece of writing of the 20th century. It combines the real world with the fantasy world. The elements that relate these two worlds define in fact the actual theme of the novel, that of finding one self.
Coelho, Paolo. The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dream. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1995.
Hejazi, Arash. "The Alchemy of the Alchemist: How Paulo Coelho became the most translated living author for the same book." Arash Hejazi Official Website. 2009 Retrieved from http://arashhejazi.com/en/2009/06/alchemy-of-the-alchemist/
Scribd.com. The Characteristics and History of Science Fiction. N.d. Retrieved…[continue]
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