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Variety of obstacles

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Assignment Sheet
Essay on The Alchemist (Reader Response Essay) – 150 points
-must be a .docx (Word) document
-Minimum word count: 600 words (You can exceed the minimum. Keep your essay under 1000 words, if possible).
-Use Times New Roman, 12 point font
-Follow MLA guidelines for formatting (see sample paper, available next week)

Overview: A Reader Response essay shows how the text (the novel) connects to your life experiences. A Reader Response essay requires you to interact with the text, so not only is it okay to use the word, “I,” it is a requirement.

Assignment: Write a 600-1000 word essay on one of the following topics.

Santiago encounters a variety of obstacles on his way to find his treasure. Using one of these obstacles, reflect on how you have been confronted with something similar in your life. How is your experience similar to Santiago’s? You can also reference the “Four Obstacles” excerpt for this option.
Santiago learns many lessons from other characters in this novel. Choose one of these lessons and write an essay in which you recount a similar life-lesson that you received from someone else. Make sure to establish the connection between Santiago’s story and your story.
The Alchemist includes many interesting and insightful quotations. For instance, one of the most memorable quotations for me is this: “It’s the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary” (Coelho 15). Choose one quotation that resonates with you, discuss its meaning to the novel, and explain how it is related to your life. Keep the focus narrow for this option, meaning that you should write about a specific moment in time, not the sum of your life’s experiences.
Many times in The Alchemist, Santiago experiences what he thinks is a negative experience that eventually leads to a positive revelation. Choose one of these events, discuss it, and then connect your own similar experiences to it.
How does Santiago’s relationship to the natural world similar to your own? Make sure to use specific examples in your essay.
What is your personal legend? What steps have you taken and will you take to achieve your personal legend? How does your journey mirror Santiago’s journey? This option is the most open-ended option. Take care to use the novel as a framework for your discussion of your own personal legend.

Introduction: Introduce the author and title of the novel. Provide a short overview of your topic. Include your main point at the end of the introduction.

Body: Use smooth transitions between paragraphs. Use ample details from the novel and from your own experiences as support for your claims. You will need to use direct quotations from the novel (see sample paper for how to incorporate quotations into your essay). Remember: your reader will want to see specific, detailed examples/stories from you. Avoid being vague.

Conclusion: Wrap-up your essay by commenting on how your reading experience connects with the novel. In some ways, you will be reiterating your main point here, but take care not to repeat your main point using the same language as you did in the introduction. Try answering this question in your conclusion: “So…..what about it?” In other words, what did the essay reveal to you about yourself? Your connection to the novel? Your life as a writer/thinker/human being?

Other: Edit your essay for lapses in style, grammar, and mechanics. Follow MLA guidelines exactly. Be deliberate in how you organize your essay. Pay attention to your main focus, and finally, use this opportunity to write about something important to you.

A Common Pitfall: Some students will either focus entirely on the novel or entirely on themselves. You must integrate the two into this essay. Use the novel as the basis for recounting your own experiences with whichever topic you choose.

Academic Honesty: The entire essay must be written from your unique point-of-view. Do not use any part of someone else’s work as your own. Doing so is plagiarism, and plagiarism will earn you a failing grade for the course. Variety of obstacles



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