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The Alchemist

Paulo Coelho

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Study Questions & Essay Topics

Suggestions for Further Reading

1. 1. What does Santiago notice in the sacristy of the abandoned church that he takes shelter in on the way to the merchant?

2. 2. What did Santiago’s parents originally hope he would be when he grew up?

3. 3. In the recurring dream Santiago has at the abandoned Church, who encourages him to seek treasure at the pyramids?

4. 4. What comforts Santiago when he is visiting the gypsy dream intepreter?

5. 5. What does Melchizedek ask Santiago for in return for directing him toward his personal legend?

6. 6. Who does Melchizedek point out to Santiago as someone who did not follow their Personal Legend?

7. 7. What does the book that Santiago buys in Tarifa describe in its opening pages?

8. 8. As Santiago sets off to Africa, Melchizedek recalls guiding who else to his personal legend?

9. 9. What distracts Santiago and allows the young man in Tarifa to steal his money?

10. 10. What kind of vendor does Santiago admire the morning after he is robbed by the young man in Tarifa?

11. 11. What does Santiago suggest to the crystal merchant as a strategy to make more money?

12. 12. According to the Englishmen, what is the name of the discovery that is the result of refining metal until all that is left is the Soul of the World?

13. 13. What is the product of alchemy that can turn lead into gold?

14. 14. What is the product of alchemy that can cure all illnesses?

15. 15. Upon what item is the core secret of alchemy written?

16. 16. What surprises Santiago about the Al-Fayoum oasis?

17. 17. Where does Santiago meet Fatima?

18. 18. What is the portentous omen that Santiago sees in the Al-Fayoum oasis?

19. 19. How does the tribal chieftain punish the chief of the invading army?

20. 20. What job does the Al-Fayoum tribal chieftain offer Santiago to reward him for warning of invading armies?

21. 21. What danger do Santiago and the alchemist come across in their first foray into the desert?

22. 22. Which part of nature didn’t Santiago speak to when he was trying to turn himself into the wind?

23. 23. What do the alchemist and the monk talk about while the alchemist is transforming the lead?

24. 24. Why does Santiago choose to dig in the dune by the pyramids?

25. 25. What is the treasure that Santiago finds under the sycamore tree?