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The Alchemist

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In chapter 1 of Thomas Foster’s How To Read Literature Like Professor, he explains that any journey in a story can be a quest. Foster explains that a quest only consists of 5 things:

1. A quester 2. A place to go 3. A stated reason to go there 4.The challenges and trials that the quester will face on his journey 5. The real reason to go there. In the chapter, Foster starts off with a made-up story about a boy named Kip and his journey to the grocery store. He uses this story to show that something as simple as going to the grocery store can be a quest. An actual story Foster uses that follow the same pattern is The Crying Lot of 49. In this story, the quester is a young woman who is unhappy in her marriage and in life. The place she goes to is Southern California to carry out her duties. The stated reason to go was that she had been made executor of the will of her former lover. The challenges she faced were going through San Francisco and meeting a lot of outcasts and she had a close encounter with a shooter. The real reason she went was to lose all her crutches (money and other resources) so she could rise and become great. In the end, after losing everything she gave up on men and her goal of getting a surrogate. The stated goal had faded away throughout the course of the book. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho has all 5 aspects that are needed for a quest. The quester is Santiago and his destination is the pyramids in Egypt. His stated reason was to find treasure. “At the Egyptian pyramids ...you will find a hidden treasure” (Coelho 16). On his way to Egypt, he faced many challenges. Santiago had been robbed by someone who had appeared as a friend. He stayed where he was and got a job to buy sheep and become a shepherd again. Once he decided to find the treasure he travels to an oasis and he prophesizes an invasion. He risked his life by waring the leaders but he was right. When he goes to look for the treasure he meets men who rob him of the gold he had on him. The real reason he went to Egypt was to find Fatima, the woman he loves, and to get the actual location of the treasure.



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