How to Read Literature like a Professor and the Alchemist

Published: 2021-09-11 13:40:11
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Category: English

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12/1/15English Honors p.2Mr. BairdThe Alchemist EssayIntro: backgroundConclusion: echo No commentsHow to Read Literature like a Professor, by Thomas C. Foster is a book that brings a different meaning to reading and draws attention to the author’s intentions to the plot lines and characters. Applying Fosters teaching's to Paulo Coelho's story, The Alchemist, the main character, Santiago, goes on a journey to find his personal legend.  A Personal Legend is finding the place where you belong or, “To realize one's destiny is a person's only real obligation” (Coelho 22). Foster brings light to the meaning of the plot by describing Santiago’s quest, how the plot relates to Shakespeare, relation towards the bible, and the irony used to tell the story. Santiago has this reoccurring dream of him going to a field and being brought to the Egyptian pyramids. When he meets the King of Salem, Melchizedek, Santiago explains his dream and the King tells him about Personal Legends. He tells him that going to the pyramids is his Personal Legend. Foster says, “The real reason for a quest never involves the stated reason” (3). This refers to Santiago in the beginning of the story where the confusion of the meaning of going to Egypt and that in fact, this journey is a quest is not visible to Santiago.  The King comes to help Santiago realize where he is to go; you must understand that love never keeps a man from pursuing his Personal Legend. If he abandons that pursuit, its because it wasn’t true love… the love that speaks the Language of the World”(Coelho 120).

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