73 pages 2 hours read

Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1988

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more. For select classroom titles, we also provide Teaching Guides with discussion and quiz questions to prompt student engagement.

Essay Questions

Use these essay questions as writing and critical thinking exercises for all levels of writers, and to build their literary analysis skills by requiring textual references throughout the essay.

Differentiation Suggestion: For English learners or struggling writers, strategies that work well include graphic organizers, sentence frames or starters, group work, or oral responses.

Scaffolded Essay Questions

Student Prompt: Write a short (1-3 paragraph) response using one of the below bulleted outlines. Cite details from the play over the course of your response that serve as examples and support.

1. Santiago’s journey begins with a dream.

  • What role do dreams and/or omens play in Santiago’s journey? (topic sentence)
  • Provide 3 examples from the text in which Santiago mentions or encounters a dream or omen.
  • In your concluding sentence or sentences, link your examples back to Santiago’s development as a character and the theme of Dreams and Omens.

2. Santiago begins as a shepherd and ultimately returns home as a very different person.

  • What do sheep symbolize in this novel? (topic sentence)
  • Using at least 3 examples from the text, think about what role sheep play in Santiago’s journey.
  • In your conclusion, connect your argument back to Santiago’s transformation over the course of the novel.

3. Santiago enters the desert hoping to learn from it, despite its harsh conditions.