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Study Guide for Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist including part summary, character analysis, and more. Learn all about The Alchemist, ask questions, and get the answers you need.


Book Basics

Author: Paulo Coelho

Year Published: 1988

Type: Novel

Genre: Allegory

Perspective and Narrator:

The Alchemist is narrated from a third-person omniscient point of view. The unknown narrator of The Alchemist tells the story of the shepherd boy Santiago, his journey, and the individuals he meets along the way. Although focused on Santiago, the third-person point of view reveals many of the thoughts, feelings, and actual words of other characters, particularly Melchizedek, the crystal merchant, as well as the Englishman and the alchemist.


The Alchemist is told in the past tense.

About the Title:

The title refers to the ancient alchemist Santiago meets in the desert oasis of Al-Fayoum. It also references the practice of alchemy, a form of science from the medieval period that involved turning a base metal to gold and finding an elixir of life that could cure all ailments.

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