Our staff readers have prepared this list of discussion questions for those reading The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Next week, we will be introducing staff reading the book and they will begin posting their own thoughts on these questions…and we hope you will join the conversation!
Discussion Questions for The Alchemist
1. What are the effects of Santiago’s adventures on his identity and his self-perception?
2. What cultures do you think would be most likely to accept Coelho’s message that a person should pursue their dreams and aspire to happiness?
3. Do you agree with the crystal merchant that having a dream is more important than pursuing a dream? Do you agree more with Santiago’s philosophy or the merchant’s?
4. Do you believe that the universe will conspire (along with perseverance on your part) to help you achieve your dreams?
5. What lessons do you think Santiago learned along the way? What lessons will you take-away from the book?
6. What does Coelho mean by “love without ownership” and is it possible to have love without ownership?
7. Santiago “learned from his sheep that there was a language in the world that everyone understood.” As you have traveled or interacted with people of different cultures, do you find this to be true?
8. How does Santiago interact with the people of different cultures that he meets as he travels through a variety of cultural environments? What do you think is the key factor to mutual cultural acceptance?
9. Have you traveled to the parts of the world that Santiago visits on his journey? If so, did you find that the descriptions in the book were similar to your own experiences? Did you feel that you learned anything new about the culture of that region of the world?
10. The Alchemist has been translated into 56 languages and is a best seller in 74 countries. Why do you think this book is so universally popular? Is there anything else you can think of that transcends culture and language?