Not What You Expected When life doesn't follow your plan

Sometimes life doesn't go the way you want it to. Despite your most carefully laid plans, life can trow you a curve. Themes of loss, desperation, and drastic change are found in Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist, Homer's The Odyssey, Rebeckah Schroeder's "Finding a Place in This World", and "Wonder What's Next" by Chevelle.


Detail 1: It seems that the moment we are most confident is the moment we lose it all. When Santiago first arrives in Tangier, he trusts the boy with all his money. However, the moment he is out of Santiago's sight, he runs off with it all. As he stood i nthe empty marketplace, he came to the realization that "...he had nothing, not even the money to return and start everything over," (Coelho 41).

Commentary: Similarly, in The Odyssey, Odysseus' ship gets caught in a storm and "...Zeus hit the craft with a lightning-bolt and thunder. Round she spun, reeling under the impact..." (Homer). That day, Odysseus lost men and his ship with everything on it.


Detail 2: All the success Santiago had thorough his journeys had been too good to be true. When the alchemist and he were captured by one of the warring tribes, he began to lose hope; after all, how was he supposed to turn himself into the wind? "The boy was shaking out of fear," (Coelho 145).

Commentary: In "Finding a Place in This World", the narrator is trying to carry on in life and is losing hope, like Santiago. She says, "Im trying to find my place in this world, Im trying to fit in,/ but everytime I think Ive found my place,/ it turns out thats not where I belong." (Schroeder 16-19)


Detail 3: In The Alchemist, Santiago had started out as a mere shepherd. As the story progressed, however, he became so much more: a crystal merchant, a traveler, an alchemist, a treasure hunter. After having his money stolen, he had to remind himself "'I'm an adventurer, looking for treasure,'" (Coelho 45).

Commentary: The song "Wonder What's Next" has a spoken part that talks about life's unexpected changes. When you begin writing music and creating art, you do it for fun. As the song goes, "In the beginning it seems that no one thinks beyond having fun,/ Which is why you write music in the first place,/ Always moving, defining, and pushing forward the art that once created,/ Looking to the right time to share it,/ And then the headaches of criticism,/ Senior advisers advising people above,/ Twisting, distorting that which we love,/ And never ending problems with money,/ Holding you back,/ Preventing progress,/ I thought you only started 'cause it was fun," (Chevelle).


Conclusion: When planning your future, you always hope for the best. In the end, though, it rarely turns out to be a smooth ride. Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist, Homer's The Odyssey, Rebeckah Schroeder's "Finding a Place in This World", and "Wonder What's Next" by Chevelle all express the themes of loss, desperation, and change, all of which can be felt throughout life. However, sometimes these can be a good thing, bringing hope, contentment, and new beginnings.

Created By
Clara Pittman


Created with images by kevin dooley - "Background" • tpsdave - "andreas achenbach sea ocean"

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