Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist and Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken

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The most significant journeys are always the ones that transform us, from which we emerge changed in some way. In Paulo Coelho’s modern classic novel The Alchemist, and Robert Frost’s poem The Road Not Taken, the journey that is undertaken by the central exponents leaves both with enlightening knowledge that alters their lives irrevocably. In stark contradiction to this, Ivan Lalic’s poem Of Eurydice , delves into the disruptive and negative force of knowledge, in contrast to The Alchemist which details an antithesis of this point relative to knowledge. In all journeys, the eventuality of knowledge is a transformative one. The knowledge and universal understanding derivative from a journey can leave the traveller positively enlightened. In Coelho’s story, Santiago is faced with recurring dreams which lead him to ‘’traverse the unknown’’ in search of a treasure buried in Egypt, the metaphor for universal connection, and in doing so, comes to the unrelenting realisation of spiritual transcendence. After arriving at the assumed geographical location of the treasure ‘’several figures approached him’’. They demand the boy keep searching for this treasure as they are poor refugees and in need of money, but as Santiago does, he finds nothing. Then, after relentless digging through the night ‘’as the sun rose, the men began to beat the boy’’ , finally relenting with the truth, Santiago reveals his dreams to the travellers. In doing so, Santiago finds out that these men had also been faced with recurring dreams measured around the place where the boy had undergone his own, both relative to hidden treasure. However the leader was ‘’not so stupid as to cross an entire desert just because of a recurrent dream’’. It is with this fact, tha... ... middle of paper ... ...he realisation of an aberrant knowledge, a painful truth. The closely relative journeys of Santiago and Orpheus are equally linked in abject failure, however are far more closely bound by the fact that both of them were enriched from loss. They both received a victory from defeat. Throughout all texts discussed, there is a pervasive and unmistakable sense of journey in its unmeasurable and intangible form. The journeys undertaken, are not physically transformative ones but are journeys which usher in an emotional and spiritual alteration. They are all life changing anomaly’s that alter the course and outlook each individual has on their life. Indeed, through the exploitation of knowledge in both a positive and negative context, the canvassed texts accommodate the notion that journeys bear the greatest magnitude when they change your life in some fashion.

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