Thesis: The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho, uses settings similar to the, Holy Bible, Dipankar Sadhukhan's, "Journey Through a Desert," and The Manila Time's, "The Journey into the Desert," by stressing the desert as an ideal location for spiritual quests based on its meditative capabilities, the outer landscape's contrast to the real world, and potential for self-discovery.
Commentary: Meditation is the practice of considered thought, often associated with the ease of ones mind.
Detail: As explained in, The Alchemist, "'The desert will give you an understanding of the world... all you have to do is contemplate a simple grain of sand, and you will see in it the marvels of creation,'"(Coelho 131).
Commentary: By focusing on an often overlooked piece of ground, people are able to unlock something normally incomprehensible, the co-alignment of our world.
Commentary: The, Holy Bible, is known to use the desert as a place of meditation.
Detail: Within the bible it is written, "In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God,"(Isaiah 40:3).
Commentary: This quote suggests that journeying into a desert for meditation will aid in a person's closeness to the Lord.
Commentary: The outer landscape's contrast to the real world is known to change the mindset of those who journey into the desert.
Detail: In, The Alchemist, it says, "The silence of the desert was a distant dream... as if they had emerged from the spiritual world and found themselves once again in the world of people. They were relieved and happy,"(Coelho 90-91).
Commentary: Being exposed to a setting very unlike the usual allowed people to realize how they should appreciate the societies they have created.
Commentary: "Journey Through a Desert," by Dipankar Sadhukhan, also represents contrasting worlds, much like, The Alchemist.
I am walking, walking alone
With sorrowful mind and painful heart
In the evening sands
Filled with the light of darkness.
When agony and sorrow
Dwelling in my heart
Hurt me like a heavy stone,
It seems to me -
With the enormous injures
In my tender heart and my soft mind
I should escape to an unknown world
Far away from reality and life.
When the tempest arises in my heart
And my mind becomes a restless sea,
Like a wayfarer losing the way in the desert
I rush towards the oasis to have shelter.
Commentary: Sadhukhan's, "Journey Through a Desert," may be interpreted in different ways. One interpretation is that the emotions brought on by the contrasting real and spiritual worlds must be controlled in order to return to the real world. In, The Alchemist, the caravans were tested repeatedly by the desert. The challenges from both journeys, in the poem and the book, the travelers were relieved once the oasis was in sight and gained a sense of thankfulness that they had found shelter.
Commentary: Desert journeys are not known only for spiritual discovery, they are also know for self-discovery. People often enter the desert in quest to find themselves and emerge with a new self-assurance.
Detail: "I don't know if the desert can be a friend, and it's in the desert that I have to search for my treasure,"(Coelho 67).
Commentary: This quote shows Santiago's concern with journeying into the desert, but also explains that Santiago knows in order to find his personal legend, he must take a risk and follow his dreams, into the desert.
Commentary: Like Santiago, others must enter the desert to exit with the knowledge of who they are.
Detail: As explained in, "The Journey into the Desert," by The Manila Times, "The vision quest in the desert is an inward pilgrimage... to your own core, your own reality, your own sense of self."
Commentary: By journeying into the desert, people are journeying into the depths of themselves. Hopefully, what they find is worth the search.
Restated Thesis and Ending Statement: People travel to the outer landscape of the desert for meditation, contrast to the real world, and self-discovery. The expedition may be challenging, but souls must be buffed before they can be polished.