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THE ALCHEMIST. A WebQuest of Textual Allusions in Paulo Coelho’s Novel. Introduction.

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The alchemist


A WebQuest of Textual Allusions in Paulo Coelho’s Novel



Welcome to the WebQuest! As you move through this PowerPoint slide presentation, you will be asked to click on links to other internet sites in order to access specific readings that, you will soon see, relate to Paulo Coelho’s novel, The Alchemist.

More specifically, you will be completing guided research into some of the literary allusions that Coelho makes in his book. Your introduction to these allusions will hopefully expand and deepen your understanding of the novel.

So, it’s time to begin! Good luck, and learn lots. I’ll be around in case you have any specific questions.



Click on the term above. Find the definition of ‘allusion’ and rewrite it in your own words.

Recognizing allusions

Recognizing Allusions

Coelho uses a lot of allusions in his book, The Alchemist.

Can you recall the first allusion made in the story?

What were some of the suggestions for why Coelho began his story with this literary allusion?

Having read more of the book, does the allusion seem any more fitting?

What s in a name romeo juliet

‘What’s in a name?’- Romeo & Juliet

Names are one way authors can create and deepen characterization.

If I was to write a short story and call the main character “Stewie,” for instance, most of you would think of the character from Family Guy, and likely bring some understanding of that character to your reading of mine.

What s in a name romeo juliet1

‘What’s in a name?’- Romeo & Juliet

Using information learned by following the links below, suggest reasons why Coelho might have named his characters as he did.

  • Santiago– 1

  • Santiago– 2

  • Melchizedek

  • Fatima

Urim thummim it s in the bible the same book that taught me about urim and thummim 69

Urim & Thummim“It’s in the Bible. The same book that taught me about Urim and Thummim” (69).

The old man opened his cape, and the boy was struck by what he saw. The old man wore a breastplate of heavy gold, covered with precious stones. The boy recalled the brilliance he had noticed on the previous day.

He really was a king! He must be disguised to avoid encounters with thieves.

“Take these,” said the old man, holding out a white stone and a black stone that had been embedded at the centre of the breastplate. “They are called Urim and Thummim. The black signifies ‘yes,’ and the white ‘no.’ When you are unable to read omens, they will help you to do so. Always ask an objective question. (Coelho, 29-30)

Urim thummim it s in the bible the same book that taught me about urim and thummim 691

Urim & Thummim“It’s in the Bible. The same book that taught me about Urim and Thummim” (69).

The previous passage is quoted directly from Coelho’s novel. Read the following link and see how much of what Coelho says about Urim & Thummim was taken from research : Urim & Thummim

  • Name 3 things that are the same in both texts.

  • Name 1 thing that is different in the two texts.

  • What religion are Urim & Thummim discussed in relation to the most?

The philosopher s stone

The Philosopher’s Stone

Watch out Harry Potter; the Englishman’s after the Philosopher’s Stone too!

Actually, a number of terms in The Alchemist relate to alchemy, and the Philosopher’s stone is just one of them.

See if you can identify two other terms in The Alchemist that actually come from theories of alchemy(read under “Philosopher’s Stone”)

So the question is why all the allusions

So the question is: why all the allusions?

In a short paragraph, explain why you think Coelho would include so many allusions. How many readers would actually get the allusions? Do you need to understand them to understand the meaning behind the book as a whole?



  • Allusion:

  • Santiago 1:

  • Santiago 2:

  • Melchizedek:

Websites cont

Websites, cont.

  • Fatima:

  • Urim & Thummim:

  • Alchemy:

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