Finding Omens By Abbey Kerr

Introduction: Many people receive omens or feelings in many different ways. That feeling of déjà vu is not just your mind playing tricks on you, it may actually be an omen.

Thesis: After reading Paulo Coelho's "The Alchemist", a tragic love story, a relic poem, and a thriller about a murderous car, I have observed and gathered that characters receive omens in conscience-like messages, foreshadowing quotes or words, and personal adversities and destinies.

Detail #1: In Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet", both the characters Romeo and Juliet have "dramatic irony", where the audience knows more than the characters, such as foreshadowing quotes. For example, "Take thou some new infection to thy eye, And the rank poison of the old will die," (Act 1, Scene 2). In relations to The Alchemist, when the main character, Santiago, dreams of going to the Egyptian Pyramids and finding a lost treasure; "'I dreamed that I was in a field with my sheep, when a child appeared... And suddenly, the child took me by both hands and transported me to the Egyptian Pyramids," (Coelho 14). Both of these relate to foreshadowing moments, because in Romeo and Juliet (being the tragic love story it is), both the main lovers die. In The Alchemist, his dream foreshadows what he actually will pursue, in his Personal Legend.

Detail #2: In Homer's "The Odyssey", both the main character, Odysseus, and Santiago, from "The Alchemist", have personal journeys to find their Personal Legend. In "The Alchemist", Santiago travels to Egypt in hope to get treasure, dealing with his personal adversities and struggles along the way. For example, he travels across the Sahara Desert, describing his journey, "But, in the desert, there was only the sound of the eternal wind, and the hoofbeats of the animals. Even the guides spoke very little to one another" (Coelho 75). In "The Odyssey", the main character travels for 10 years to reach his home in Ithica, to finish his Personal Legend; "For a man who has been through bitter experiences and traveled far can enjoy even his sufferings after a time" (Homer 240). Both books describe the struggles that they may have while achieving or completing their Personal Legends.

Detail #3: In Stephen King's "Christine", and "The Alchemist", both characters have conscience feelings, or "gut" feelings. In "The Alchemist", Santiago is given two stones to help decide his omens. He uses them only once or twice, and strictly listens to his conscience to decide. For example, "'Why ask more out of life?' 'Because we have to respond to omens,'" (Coelho 54). In "Christine", "Arnie's best friend Dennis distrusts her at first sight. Arnie's teen-queen girlfriend Leigh fears her the moment she senses her power" (King fourth cover). Both characters notice their omens through "gut" feelings, and it does make changes throughout the story: Santiago almost stops pursuing his personal legend, and Dennis and Leigh end up stopping the ghostly car.

Conclusion: All four books were very similar, but their story lines were very different. "The Odyssey", I noticed, was the only story that had some relations to "The Alchemist", but both "Christine" and "Romeo and Juliet" were very different; yet all four related through omens and pursuing personal legends. All four were different genres, as well: "The Odyssey" being an Epic Poem, "Romeo and Juliet" being a tragedy, "Christine" being horror fiction, and "The Alchemist" being a quest, but they were all brought together through omens and personal legends.

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