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Last updated on March 15, 2023
Paulo Coelho wrote “The Alchemist” as a reflection of his own spiritual experience, but, ironically, he also predicted his future success in this book. The Alchemist was written in 1988 and published the same year. The novel was originally in Portuguese, and in 1993 published in English. The Alchemist tells the story of a young shepherd who leaves home to find his destiny. The book is quite famous, and students are often assigned to write an essay or research paper on it. If you are one of such students, we recommend you to check out the following documented essay topics for “The Alchemist.” They will help you to choose the most suitable one and write an interesting paper.
Discussion “The Alchemist” Essay Topics
- Discuss Coelho’s use of one or more (but not many) literary elements, techniques, or devices in developing a theme about the discovery and pursuit of a preordained destiny, calling, or purpose as more essential to personal transformation and fulfillment than the eventual realization of that destiny. It is a quest that requires choices involving commitment, courage, dismissal of fears and self-doubt, risk, active awareness, observation, listening, intuiting, surrender, simplicity, detached love, and other possibilities.
- Discuss identity and self-recognition.
- Oftentimes protagonists in literary works go on a journey in order to attain an intended goal, but end up resolving a major character flaw as a result of the journey’s trials and challenges. Based on the work you chose, select a flaw that the protagonist of “The Alchemist” has before the journey. In your essay, discuss how the journey acts as an attempt to resolve the flaw and to what degree it is successful. Make sure to use specific references from the text to support your claims.
- Choose a character in “The Alchemist” who does not appear at all, or only briefly appears, and explain the role of that character in the novel. Discuss how the character affects the action, theme, or the development of other characters.
- Discuss the significance to the ending of “The Alchemist” – of the boy finding his treasure back where the journey began, buried among the roots of a tree in the very church where he dreamed of his treasure. Did the ending surprise you? Did it change the way you look at everything that leads up to it? What might the tree represents in this context? Why did the boy have to go so far to find that the treasure was back home?
- Discuss universal language from the novel “The Alchemist.”
- Discuss your “Personal Legend” as referred to in the novel “The Alchemist.”
- Discuss what the literate arts might be good for considering “The Alchemist.”
- Discuss the research on Levanters, Siroccos, and other regional weather features described in “The Alchemist.”
- Discuss how the theme of succeeding as a personal legend and the journey of self-discovery tie into the character’s development throughout “The Alchemist.”
Argumentative “The Alchemist” Research Topics
- Is it possible to live a fulfilling life without ever achieving one’s Personal Legend?
- How does the story of Narcissus relate to the broader message of “The Alchemist”?
- How do events such as omens and dreams support the novel’s theme?
- Why should the board of education have students read “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho instead of reading “The Old Man and the Sea” by Ernest Hemingway again?
- What is the major theme(s) in the novel? How does the author arrive at it, and how does this theme(s) affect or shape the main character?
- Is the main idea revealed in Paulo Coelho’s allegorical novel “Alchemist” that the whole universe helps those who pursue their dreams?
- Was there anything about the author’s style, tone, or diction that you found compelling or repelling?
- How does the author use shifts in setting to indicate shifts in theme?
- Apprenticeship in Paulo Coelho’s “The Alchemist.”
- What is the thematic message behind the religious symbols?
Research Topics From “The Alchemist” on Characters
- Character flaw resolution in the book “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho.
- First person narrative for “Julius Caesar” or “The Alchemist.”
- The Alchemist’s journey to pursue his dreams.
- Write a character analysis essay based on your understanding of a character and his or her actions in the novel. As you read, look at what the narrator says about the character you chose. Look at their actions, speech, thoughts, as well as at what other characters say or think about your character.
- Is it a dream that first leads Santiago to pursue his destiny?
- Was it love Santiago felt for the merchant girl?
- While Santiago’s quest yields significant spiritual insights, its original motive is monetary gain. What is the narrative of “The Alchemist” trying to say about the relationships between material wealth and spirituality?
- How did Santiago’s experiences and omens shape him to be the mature man that he is at the end of the novel?
- Santiago makes some terrible mistakes shortly into his journey. Why does he make the mistakes that he does?
Interesting topics on ‘The Alchemist’
- Overcoming problems by changing your mindset according to The Alchemist.
- The Alchemist and the pursuit of happiness.
- Achieving your dreams according to The Alchemist.
- The power of dedication according to The Alchemist.
- The common hero and his journey in The Alchemist.
- The power of listening to the heart according to the author P. Coelho.
- The connection of the hero to the spiritual realm in The Alchemist.
- The factors of fate as discussed in The Alchemist.
- A character analysis of Santiago.
- What is the price of success in The Alchemist?
5 Lessons We Learned From The Alchemist
When brainstorming exciting Alchemist topics for your essay, consider these lessons one can learn by reading this remarkable novel.
Find your personal legend
The problem of understanding oneself, a central theme of the novel, causes readers to reflect on their own ambitions and to consider the meaning of their own actions. Identifying your personal legend can help to look at your life from different angles. The main idea of the personal legend is that it can be found within you – so the main goal is to be attentive to your desires and follow them without hesitation. When you are going to start something big, be that the reason you are taking your journey is truly yours. If it is, then the world will help you to achieve any goal.
Take failures easier
This lesson is about making brave decisions and not being afraid to fail. When Santiago meets an Englishman during his journey, he realizes that this man knows a lot about turning metal into gold, but never tried to do it because he was afraid of failure. The power of decisions people make can lead to success, but only after we start acting boldly.
Live in the moment
Traveling through the desert, Santiago hears the story of a camel herder who had become very successful. He learned that after an earthquake had ruined the man’s farm, the man had found another way to earn money for his family – by becoming a camel herder. The lesson we learn from this story is that spending too much time regretting the past or too much time daydream about the future will get us nowhere, but living in the present can guide us to where we want to be.
Do not give up
Anyone who starts working to achieve his or her dreams and goals, fails at a certain point. The failures can happen over and over and lead to feelings of despair. The Alchemist teaches us that you should never give up on your dreams nor let the fear of failure control you. Only allowing the fear of failure to win makes your personal legend impossible to achieve. Lose your fear and be who you want to be.
Letting go of attachments
When one ignores his or her desires and rejects their personal legend, focusing only on the simple things in life like food and sleep, comfort, and pleasure, they settle. Once you settle, you will most likely stay in these conditions, and never start living your life to the fullest. Instead of settling, let go of your comforts and over attachments. Be willing to sacrifice your comfort in order to make your dreams come true. If you do everything to achieve your dream, nothing can keep you from achieving them.
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