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The Alchemist | Study Guide

Paulo Coelho

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Paulo Coelho

Year Published



Children's Book



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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