73 pages 2 hours read

Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1988

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The Alchemist

  • Genre: Fiction; allegorical fantasy
  • Originally Published: 1988
  • Reading Level/Interest: College/Adult
  • Structure/Length: 2 parts; approx. 208 pages; approx. 4 hours on audio
  • Protagonist and Central Conflict: Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy, travels in search of buried treasure and learns important life lessons during his journey.

Paulo Coelho, Author

  • Bio: Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1947; currently resides in Switzerland; has worked as an actor, director, and songwriter; member of the Brazilian Academy of Letters since 2002; has been a United Nations Messenger of Peace since 2007
  • Other Works: The Pilgrimage (2009); Warrior of the Light (2004)
  • Awards: Hans Christian Andersen Award; Grinzane Cavour Book Award; United Kingdom’s Nielsen Gold Book Award (2004)

CENTRAL THEMES connected and noted throughout this Teaching Unit:

  • Dreams and Omens
  • Gold, Treasure, and Money
  • Fear and Loneliness

STUDY OBJECTIVES: In accomplishing the components of this Unit, students will:

  • Gain an understanding of allegory as the literary form that structures Coelho’s novel.
  • Discuss the historical and biblical allusions incorporated into Coelho’s novel.
  • Analyze the importance of historical and biblical figures to character development through the Activity and Discussion Prompts.