Procedures:                                                                                                                Print Questions: .docx / .doc


1) Read the novel excerpts and the related texts together in groups or as a class

2) Clarify meaning in groups or as a class. Student/Teacher reads. Student summarizes

3) In pairs or in groups, discuss the textual content and quotations

4) In pairs or in groups, discuss the conversation questions (include your own questions)

5) As a class, take turns using the conversation questions to expand your ideas

Novels 103 ~ The Alchemist ~ Paulo Coelho ~

Courtesy of  Sparknotes


¡°¡¦whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, it's because that desire originated in the soul of the universe. It's your mission on earth."

Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist


 ¡°¡¦every blessing ignored becomes a curse. I don't want anything else in life. But you are forcing me to look at wealth and at horizons that I have never known. Now that I have seen them, and now that I see how immense my possibilities are, I'm going to feel worse than I did before you arrived. Because I know the things I should be able to accomplish, and I don't want to do so.¡±

Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist


¡°We are afraid of losing what we have, whether it¡¯s our life or our possessions or our property. But this fear evaporates when we understand that our life stories and the history of the world were written by the same hand.¡±

Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist


¡°The alchemists spent years in their laboratories, observing the fire that purified the metals. They spent so much time close to the fire that gradually they gave up the vanities of the world. They discovered that the purification of the metals had led to a purification of themselves.¡±

Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist


¡°What you still need to know is this: before a dream is realized, the Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way. It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we¡¯ve learned as we¡¯ve moved toward that dream. That¡¯s the point at which, as we say in the language of the desert, one ¡®dies of thirst just when the palm trees have appeared on the horizon¡¦ Every search begins with beginner¡¯s luck. And every search ends with the victor¡¯s being severely tested.¡±

Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist



Click here for Author¡¯s Biography, Plot Overview, and Explanation of Quotes courtesy of Sparknotes


~ General Conversation Questions ~


Group A


1) Which (if any) ancient religious traditions (Hinduism, Taoism, etc.) are you interested in? Explain.

2) Do you believe in the first quote above? Could this statement be misinterpreted? How? Explain.

3) Explain the idea of ¡°personal legends¡± Click . Explain why this is (or is not) a valid idea.

4) There have been many books on spirituality over the years. Is there one you would recommend? Tell.

5) Are there any religions or spiritual groups you feel are dangerous (except for the obvious). Explain.


Group B


1) Dreams are a major component in this novel. How do dreams affect (or not affect) you? Talk about it.

2) Would you prefer to create your sleeping dreams or let them happen naturally? Explain.

3) Have you ever had a recurring dream? What did it mean to you? Are you willing to share it?

4) In this novel, the desert is a symbol. Why is it important? What does it make you think about?

5) What is the role of "Nature" in your experience. Is it part of your culture/customs? Explain.



Challenge: Make your own follow-up questions and discuss them.




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