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Meadow SacaduraMrs.Cassabaum/Mrs.LewickiEnglish 2 Honors23 January 2018The Alchemist Connections: Values and ThemesThe painting The Alchemist by Mattheus van Hellemont was created in the 17th century. The painting features a bearded seated man with glasses and a bright red shirt, bending over an open book on a desk stacked high with a mess of books, papers, and glassware. At his feet are broken and unbroken crockery, a large copper pan, and strands of straw on the ground. In the background there are two men at a table; behind them a man stands by a large furnace who is pouring a liquid from one vessel into another. To the right in background there are three men around a free-standing small furnace heating a pot. There are numerous different values presented in this painting, with the main value being determination. In this painting, an older man seems to be very focused and determined to succeed in what he is doing. The mess on the ground and around him is showing that he has been working continuously, and very hard. More values and themes presented throughout this painting consist of working your hardest to accomplish a goal, never giving up, finding love in your craft, staying focused, and empowering yourself to accomplish your dream.The Alchemist is a novel written by Paulo Coelho, that was published in 1998. The Alchemist follows a young Andalusian shepherd in his journey to the pyramids of Egypt, after having a recurring dream of finding treasure there. In this novel, many different themes are also presented throughout, similar to The Alchemist painting, written by Mattheus van Hellemont. Themes like fate, dreams, pursuing your “personal legend”, love, religion, focusing on your journey, always staying determined, and to always take action are shown throughout the story. The central theme of The Alchemist is that our paths are pre-destined or maktub, in the words of the shopkeeper. The goal of life is to accomplish your “Personal Legend”, and stay happy and determined while doing this. In The Alchemist, this problem is exemplified by the experience Santiago has with alchemy. While traveling through the desert with the Englishman, Santiago reads several books about the secrets of alchemy. The books claim that the original secret of alchemy could be written in a single sentence, but that mankind had made its explanations of that secret so convoluted that they could not be understood by anyone. Santiago rejects this and thinks that he can learn everything he needs to know about alchemy through his day-to-day life and on his own. For example, when Melchizedek says, “When you want something, all the universe is conspiring to help you achieve it,” (Coelho 22) he is saying that since it is fate that puts a desire in Santiago’s heart, fate will not him from achieving it. Similar to the novel, the painting The Alchemist, also represents fate and pursuing your Personal Legend. This man portrayed in the painting is working extremely hard to find an answer for something, and this is clearly what he wants to do. He is staying determined, shown by the mess around him, and seems to be willing to do anything he can to pursue his “Personal Legend”. Therefore, both the story and the painting are portraying a central theme of pursuing a personal legend, with fate controlling it. Throughout The Alchemist, Santiago shows that he is an adventurous and courageous character. In The Alchemist determination and perseverance is presented throughout the whole novel,”I’m an adventurer, looking for treasure,” (Coelho 40). Santiago achieved his destiny by using his determination and not giving up. If Santiago hadn’t used his determination throughout his destiny he would have given up at the beginning of his quest. From the start of his journey Santiago was eager to discover, which allowed him to eventually accomplish his “personal legend”. Similar to the novel, the painting by Van Hellemont also shows determination and perseverance. The floor is covered in books and papers, while the man is studying and trying to perfect his craft. The man is trying to find an answer to something in order to accomplish his “personal legend”, just like Santiago was. In conclusion, both men use determination and perseverance to achieve their “personal legend”.Overall, The Alchemist, written by Paulo Coelho, and The Alchemist, painted by Mattheus van Helmont, have multiple similarities. Santiago and the man in the painting both have determined personalities, that are shown from their drive to achieve what they want. Santiago’s ultimate goal is to achieve his “personal legend” and the man in the painting seems that he is trying to find an answer for something. Both men did not give up even if they were struck by obstacles. The man in the painting seems to have been studying and searching for something for a extremely long time, signifying the mess on the ground. Santiago transforms into a new and improved person when he meets with the Alchemist. When this happens, Santiago realizes a lot of things and he comes to believes that Fatima is more important than his treasure, and that he can transform himself into the wind. However, both men are working to achieve these obstacles in order to pursue their dreams. While Santiago finds a different love than the man in the painting, love is still a main theme in both the painting and the novel. Santiago finds love in Fatima and the man finds love in what he does, which is studying and finding an answer. Staying focused is persistent throughout both as well. Both men stay focused in what they are trying to accomplish, which is going to allow them to be most successful. Finally, it is clear to come to a conclusion that The Alchemist by Coelho and The Alchemist painting both have similarities based off values and themes presented throughout that consist of working your hardest to accomplish a goal, never giving up, love, staying focused, and empowering yourself to accomplish your dream.ReflectionI personally chose The Alchemist to reflect a piece of visual art with because while reading The Alchemist, I found it very intriguing. The novel reveals a lot of values, that I knew I could compare to a piece of visual art. While searching for paintings that revealed similar values like determination, perseverance, empowerment, and staying focused I was able to come up upon The Alchemist by Mattheus van Hellemont. While both of them share common names, they have more similarities in values. I chose how to reveal their values that are similar through textual evidence, details, theme, characterization, plot, and and symbolism. Once I got all my details together and figured out how I was going to organize my essay by using ICEE, I was able to do it quickly. Therefore, I personally liked this project a lot because it allowed me to be creative and use details to develop a well developed essay.

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