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Grant O'Brien's Monomyth Project

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S: The Alchemist and the Monomyth

FC: By Grant O'Brien | The Alchemist and the Monomyth

1: STEP 1: THE CALL | Santiago is first called to the adventure when he has a dream about a treasure waiting for him at the pyramids of Egypt. Santiago mentions that in the dream, "the child said to me, 'If you come here, you will find a hidden treasure.'" (Coelho 13). Santiago is even more intrigued by the fact that he had the same dream on two different occasions. He is inspired to go in search of this treasure that some sort of divine intervention has seemed to steer him towards. | STAGE I

2: STEP 2: THE REFUSAL OF THE CALL | The refusal of the call occurs when Santiago is skeptical about the validity of the dream reader's interpretation of his dreams. "[Santiago] decided that he would never again believe in dreams." (Coelho 15). He is simply too skeptical to believe the interpretation at this point and refuses his calling to go on the quest for the Egyptian treasure. Santiago believes that he has finally 'come to his senses' and does not realize that he has actually done the polar opposite of this.

3: STEP 3: SUPERNATURAL AID | The old and mysterious man, Melchizedek, who visits Santiago represents the supernatural aid. Melchizedek declares himself to be the "King of Salem" and suggests that Santiago has "succeeded in discovering [his] personal legend" (Coelho 21). Santiago's inspiration is renewed and he is able to make the decision to set out on the excursion to Egypt in search of his so-called personal legend.

4: STEP 4: CROSSING THE THRESHOLD | Santiago crosses the threshold when he travels from his homeland of Spain to Africa, the land of his treasure. He could have easily ignored the advice of Melchizedek and stayed with his comfortable life of shepherding, but is able to summon the bravery and actually exit his comfort zone in hopes of discovering great things. Melchizedek is proud of Santiago as he watches the ship exit the port and hopes that Santiago will be successful in his quest for treasure (Coelho 33). Santiago's bravery is plainly exhibited as he makes the first step in his long journey.

5: STEP 5: BELLY OF THE WHALE | The belly of the whale is exemplified by Santiago's time spent in the port city of Tangier. It begins with a reality check in the form of his coins being stolen by a cunning would-be friend. Santiago manages to pick himself up by attaining a job with the crystal shopkeeper and singlehandedly lifts the business back up from the bottom. He learns valuable lessons during his time as a salesman about hard work and understanding omens (Coelho 52). He also becomes fluent in Arabic, the language spoken in the majority of Africa. During his time in the crystal shop, or metaphorical whale, Santiago is able to better prepare himself for his journey.

6: STEP 1: ROAD OF TRIALS | STAGE II | Santiago's lengthy trek through the desert represents his road of trials. The trip is often threatened by the prospects of tribal wars (Coelho 77) and the actual possibility of reaching the oasis seems bleaker by the minute. However, the caravan is able to complete its trip despite the threats and Santiago's knowledge of the Language of the World and the science of alchemy is greatly improved along the way.

7: STEP 2: MEETING WITH GODDESS | Santiago's goddess is represented by Fatima, the girl he meets in the oasis. When he meets her, he instantly understands the language of the world that he has been trying to understand the entire time. "It was the pure language of the world. It required no explanation..." (Coelho 93). Fatima is the one person who was able to reveal Santiago the language of the world, and her great pwoer was demonstrated as she accomplished this simply through meeting Santiago.

8: STEP 3: TEMPTATION FROM TRUE PATH | Despite Fatima's ability to teach Santiago about the reason for his quest and the true language of the world, she also tempts Santiago from discovering his personal legend, the treasure. Santiago is deeply saddened when he must leave but Fatima is able to convince him to follow his true path (Coelho 97). Santiago is upset because he thought that Fatima was his treasure, but realizes that there is something greater out there for him that he must attain.

9: STEP 4: ATONEMENT WITH FATHER | Santiago reaches atonement when he is able to turn himself into the wind. The alchemist helps Santiago to become the wind by essentially placing a bet with their lives that Santiago would be able to turn into the wind (Coelho 140). Santiago is at first quite skeptical about his ability to accomplish such an unthinkable feat but soon realizes that "[he and the desert] spoke the same language" (Coelho 143). He is then able to defy his limits and communicate with 'the hand that wrote it all' and transform into the wind. Santiago makes the alchemist (the father) proud by accomplishing this.

10: STEP 5: APOTHEOSIS | Santiago's apotheosis is when he reaches the pyramids and discovers where his treasure actually is. He is so overjoyed when he reaches the top of the dune and can see the pyramids that he begins to weep. He recalls what his heart had told him: "Be aware of the place you are brought to tears. That's where your treasure is, and where I am also." (Coelho 159). He begins digging and discovers nothing but is soon ridiculed by passersby who mention that their personal legend was to "travel to the fields of Spain and look for a ruined church" (Coelho 163) where his treasure should be. Santiago realizes his call and prepares to embark on his journey back to his homeland where his heart and tresasure are.

12: STEP 1: REFUSAL OF THE RETURN | STAGE III | Santiago experiences his refusal of the return when he finally sees the pyramids and is essentially content. He thought that "he had learned all he needed to know and experienced everything that he might have dreamed of" (Coelho 160) and could return to his simple life and be happy. Santiago iss satisfied with his journey to his Personal Legend and has little desire to actually locate his treasure.

13: step 2: master of two worlds | Santiago becomes a master of two worlds when he discovers his treasure in the ruined church where he was at the beginning of the book (Coelho 166). He has now not only 'mastered' his homeland as he has discovered the treasure, but is a master of the desert as he learned the art of alchemy through the alchemist he met there. Santiago has become a true alchemist and has learned the 'language of the world' throughout his journey and was made a far better person for realizing his personal legend; he not only learned the art of alchemy but met his soulmate along the way.

14: WORKS CITED | Bedrick, Jeffrey K. Oasis. 1984. Iasos. Web. 5 Apr. 2011. Broken Heart. n.d. Web Graphics. Web. 10 Apr. 2011. . Coelho, Paulo. The Alchemist. Trans. Alan R. Clarke. New York, NY: Harper Collins, 1993. Print. The Desert Ship. 2010. Point LLC. State of Kuwait. Web. 5 Apr. 2011.

15: Goldman, Lisa. Ancient Port of Jaffa. 2011. +972 Magazine. Web. 10 Apr. 2011. Rouault, Georges. The Old King. 1937. Carnegie Institute Museum of Art, Pittsburgh. The Artchive. Web. 10 Apr. 2011. Shepherd Boy. 2006. Youthtalk. Web. 6 Apr. 2011. . Treasure Chest (XXL). 2009. Official PSDs. Web. 5 Apr. 2011. Yaroshenko, Nikolai. Gypsy Woman. 1886. Serpukhov's Museum of History and Art. Web. 6 Apr. 2011.

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Grant O'Brien
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  • Title: Grant O'Brien's Monomyth Project
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