Compare The Alchemist and The Pearl

October 4, 2017
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In our lives, we may experience bad feelings when others around us achieve their goals, but we do not. Why are we often envious of other’s successes? We may all put in the same efforts, but we achieve quite different results. Examining The Alchemist and The Pearl may provide us with an answer. The Alchemist is the mirror of the story The Pearl, and these protagonists have quite similar journeys and both strive for better lives. However, one strives for a long time and has a very bright future, but the other one encounters a tragic ending. Although Kino and Santiago have similar journeys, their purposes, their attitudes, and their luck are mainly different, all of which leads to different outcomes.


Both Kino and Santiago strive to achieve their dreams, but with different purposes in mind. At the beginning of The Alchemist, Santiago’s dream is to travel around the world. Over the course of the whole story, though he faces a lot of challenge, he does not change his mind. In the story, when Santiago wants to travel around world, his father tries to stop him and tells him that only shepherd can do that; however, Santiago’s answer is: “Then I’ll be a shepherd.” We can see the dream already formed from that moment, and his mind does not change because of anything he encounters. All Santiago wants is to accomplish his Personal Legend, and as the old king says: “When you want to realize your Personal Legend, the whole universe will help you”. Similarly, in The Pearl, Kino’s goal is to find a good pearl to purchase a cure for his baby. However, when he finds the greatest pearl in the world, greed and desire are ignited, and he even forgets that his baby is in danger. After he learns his baby has recovered from scorpion bite, he tries to sell the pearl so that he can buy many things. As soon as Kino opened the oyster, “[in] the surface of the great pearl he could see dream forms.”  Kino’s purpose changes, and he fails in the face of greed, forgetting his original goal and slowly falling from the bright to the dark side of humanity.
Thus, different purposes are not the only things that influenced the outcomes of Kino and Santiago’s journeys. Through his story, Santiago always has a positive attitude about everything around him, but Kino is the opposite. Santiago learns a lot from the people around him, not only because most people he meets are good, but also because he is very good at observation and being enthusiastic. When Santiago arrives at the crystal shop, he says, “I can clean up those glasses in the window, if you want … [the] way they look now, nobody is going to want to buy them … [in] exchange, you could give me something to eat.” This shows us how Santiago enlarges his circle of friendship, and gets a chance to earn money so that he can continue his journey. Furthermore, Santiago also has a very positive attitude, even when he faces obstacles. For example, he is robbed when he first gets to Africa, and he realizes that he has to choose between thinking of himself as a poor victim of a thief, and as an adventurer in quest of his treasure. However, Kino, always a negative attitude about those around him, so when meets obstacles, he fails easily. Kino goes to sell his pearl at the pearl buyer’s house, but changes his mind, saying, “My pearl is not for sale here. I will go, perhaps even to the capital”.  Later, Juana, Kino’s wife, wants Kino throw his pearl away, but Kino tells her to “hush”.  Both events demonstrate a lack of wise thinking. Kino thinks he is a man who can succeed again everything by himself, but he cannot. On the other hand, Santiago tries to learning from everything around himself. Just as everyone needs help some times, if there is no good attitude and friendship, trust will never be developed and no one will be willing to lend a hand.


People always say that one’s attitude decides everything, but on the road to success, luck is also essential. In The Alchemist, Santiago meets the English man in the desert, and this man, who first leads Santiago to learn alchemy, provides him a chance to see the alchemist. The English man becomes a tutor to Santiago, and everyone needs a tutor on their way to grow. If Santiago had never met the English man, he never would have found his treasure. It seems like a stroke of luck for Santiago to meet the Englishman and the alchemist. In contrast, Kino is just the mirror opposite of Santiago. For example, when Kino wants to attack the tracer, the moon rises up and the baby begins to cry, and the baby is shot. If these unlucky things had not happened to Kino, he might have had the chance to save his family and sell the pearl. This is how luck helps on the way to achieving a goal.


Kino and Santiago, who have different purposes and attitudes, achieve different results. What we can learn from The Pearl is that we will never be successful if we desire something for a negative purpose. From The Alchemist, we can learn to get others’ help if we hold a positive attitude, which then helps us to become more successful.






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