The Alchemist Writing Assignment

The Alchemist is a story about a boy’s physical, emotional, and mental journey to find his own treasure and personal legend. Throughout the story, Santiago learns a lot of lessons about true love, about selfishness, about fear, about fate, about personal choice about living life, about enjoying the present, about realizing dreams, about religion, about unity, about following goals, and about overcoming obstacles (four of them to be precise).

Your next writing assignment is to write an essay in which you analyze one or some of the lessons (themes) in The Alchemist. Such questions you may want to consider are: Have you learned anything from the novel? What are some of the lessons that Santiago learns (or we learn as readers)? Do you agree or disagree with the lessons that Paulo Coelho is giving us? Should we follow Santiago’s footsteps? Why or why not? The only requirement for this writing is that I want you to “ground” your writing with at least three quotes from the book. Using some direct quotes may help you remain focused on what specifically you want to say; however, be careful! Don’t use too many quotes, as the majority of the paper should be your own writing. Use MLA format when you use these quotes, and add a works cited page as well.

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A good technique in your essay would be to first describe one of the lessons (or themes) in the book and secondly show how this lesson (theme) is shown in the novel (use some quotes to help you). Then, analyze this lesson and give your own thoughts about it, and you may want to include your own personal experience in doing so. Depending on how you want to structure your essay, you many choose as little as one lesson (theme) or as many as three lessons (themes).


· This essay is worth 15% of your total grade and should be 4-5 pages.

Your introduction paragraph should include a hook and/or general thoughts relating to themes of the book, title and author of novel, and a thoughtful thesis statement containing the specific themes you will be discussing in your body paragraphs.

Each of the body paragraphs will include thoughtful concrete detail, commentary, and analysis. (including quotes, paraphrases, or summaries following MLA format).

The conclusion paragraph should wrap up the essay giving it a finished feeling and convincing the reader that your discussion points are valid.

Appropriate use of literary quote order (Transition, Lead-in, Quote) – i.e.: (T) For example, (L) Santiago remembers the kings words, (Q)“I am the King of Salem” (Coelho 21).

*Do not start a sentence with a quote.

Be sure your essay is insightful and does not contain plot summary.

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