Comparative Essay Example: Alchemist vs. Great Expectations

Date:  2021-06-24 19:15:55
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Sewanee University of the South
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This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

The intensive reading of Charles Dickens the great expectations and the Alchemist by Paulo acquaints a person with profound well-formed knowledge on social struggles, which are inevitable throughout the life and particularly common in todays millennial. We are particularly born to live through social struggles which we are expected to conform to certain esteemed cultural practices, bounded by some existing economic class instilled into our lives by the society. This is portrayed in both books as a barbaric theatrical way of living which impedes our growth. The essence of the novels is to proclaim the individual liberty to live the life the way an individual sees fit without social, cultural and economic beliefs impediments. The play in both novels categorically reveals the interactions of the social, cultural and economic aspects in the shaping of the life of the individuals and how they struggle to get themselves out of that savagery yolk. In a nutshell, the themes in the novels illustrate how the antagonist refused to acclimatize to the societal settings to achieve their goals. Therefore, we are bound to choose the correct interplay of social, economic and cultural which aligns to our goals and beliefs. Life is not happenstance; it is purposeful progress embedded in our daily decisions.

The Alchemist has become a modern search for wisdom, and it is beyond special. The synopsis of the Alchemist features a young boy Santiago who faces cyclical dream troubles about the Andalusian shepherd. This becomes a subject to worry about, and he consults a gypsy woman who advises him to go to Egypt. The plot gets underway, and through his travels in Africa, the boy learns invaluable lessons despite the struggles. The play has well-distinguished themes which reveal the most critical aspects of life. The ultimate focus of the alchemist story is to trust and focus on our dreams, to be steadfast and have an unwavering stance on our dreams so as to achieve happiness and satisfaction (Coelho, Paulo et al.).

The great expectations by Charles Dickens on the other hand primarily focuses on how an individual can do a lot when motivated and accelerated by love. This features a man known as Pip who by pure chance meets a wealthy girl and they both trip-fall in love (Dickens, Charles, and Clare West). The story recounts the growth of the man at the eye of his loved one, experiencing endless struggles, achievements, and triumphs to win the heartless girl by the name Estella. A various twist on the story makes it even more interesting and the man, Philip, has to live with these societal and economic challenges. The themes of the story are the product of the society, and cultural existence focused on the social standings, suffering, parenthood, revenge and bettering oneself. These themes are not limited to social setting, but they are also influenced by the economic aspect of the society.

The themes in both plays significantly portray how the social life, cultural and economic interplays to impede or enhance one personal growth and fulfillment. However, despite the society angle, cultural perspective on who you are and the economic state it is imperative to break out of that and focus on your beliefs and dreams. Society opinions are inevitable and most of the times are claptraps of peoples formed opinions on what they have experienced as they age failing to realize we are of different DNA and we trail on different paths to our destiny. We should revel in the differences and pursue our goals and dreams diligently without being conditioned to follow what other people believe and do or what our economic status sanctions us to. This aspect of social living is ostensibly manifested in the theme of a dream in the alchemist. The cyclical dreams experienced by Santiago are crucial in revealing the invaluable lessons of following one's dreams and goals despite the challenges (Coelho, Paulo et al.). The social setting comes in, whereby the gypsy woman is intervening to advise the boy to travel to Egypt and the Melchizedek advises the boy to follow the dream intensely. The centrality of the theme focuses more on the imperative lesson all youths should follow to ensure success. The stance of the theme is vivid suggesting that the youths dreams should not be displaced as they grow up and the hope for better future has to remain and get pursued vividly (Coelho, Paulo et al.). From the novel, Santiago does exactly that with his ambitions receiving a backup of the dream even during discouraging events and the material deprivation moments. The end results of this indeterminism, jocular prism perspective of life is a satisfying quest.

The story of the great expectations holds the same stance, with even the pipe having to part with the loved ones to quest in what he believed was valuable. Through his endeavors, he autonomously without the loved ones learned some invaluable lessons. The great expectations embed Pip to one of the fundamental principal stating that despite the social interactions and the economic status one is inclined to experience, an individual cannot change his being no matter what (Dickens, Charles, and Clare West). The story maintains this philosophical angle of life through the character of Pip. Pip is an ambitious young guy who is predominantly driven by the urge to bettering himself and be valued by his esteemed Estella. He pulls from where he was and abandoned his loved ones and later became wealthy portraying that happiness can be achieved by first achieving your goals.

Economic security is the epitome of peoples desires. Wealth brings money, possessions, and a pledge from social constraints as well as offering a springboard in pursuing one dream. Certain kind of social interactions in alchemy in a way led to evolving of modern day economic practices. In modern millennial, the cardinal mistake in economic decisions is printing of excessive money. The gravity of the currency value should be appended to something real, a fundamental principal in the alchemy where by the transformation of lead into gold is a difficult task with discouragement and other unsaid triumphs. To create value, Santiago had to work an analogy used in modern day economic paradigm. To get value, people have to work. It is known that the conservatism of hard-money is autonomous of social values. These values are however explained regarding the truths about life which are essentially eternal. Therefore, which is seen as progress to liberalism is a stagnant ideal. Money is thought to have a certain purpose in maintaining the social hierarchy as well in protecting the balance of power among the segments of the society. This translates to government delving ways to keep its gold and acquire more from different nations and eventually landing into the process of money printing. From the alchemist novel, we come to learn that getting gold from lead didnt work. However the invaluable lesson was that money should be created on trust instead of hard, cold metal. The metaphorical angle of alchemy displaced the literal kind to a good bank, thats is the ability to multiply stocks of a country to satisfy trading whims and infinite. In the context of Alchemist story, this relates to the philosophers stone. Alongside the story of alchemy, many scientific interventions and revolutions were imperative in developing the modern economy. The core value here is trust; the alchemy metaphorically places the need for the banks to embed on honesty in generating reports. This has technically led to abolition and dealing with fake money, frauds and theatrical paper printers perpendicularly.

On the contrary, Charles Dickens great expectations are more focused on a moral view pedal rather than the dreams to immerse wealth. However, the ultimate result is that of a wealthy man, and both novels have followed same paths of perseverance, hard work, and humility in achieving the success. In great expectations, loyalty affection and conscience are more crucial in attaining satisfying life rather than wealth and social class advancement. Dickens establishes these lessons by the way Pip explores ideas on self-improvement (Dickens, Charles, and Clare West). Pip is an idealist chap who is willing to achieve what he has conceived in mind of a self-improvement idea. The novel ascertains the possibility of further advancements in life by the way it portrays Pips character and great expectations for the future. The novel emphasis on the affection and devolves the social class. The main idea of social class theme in the plot of this novel is that class and wealth are less significant although they might be a necessity in achieving good future. He conceived that loyalty, inner worth, and affection is more crucial in the attainment of happiness. The novel portrays that idea of advancing to self-improvement and working on ambitions leads to a higher social class. This is evidently purported through the Havishams family where fortune or lack achieved was largely connected to the commerce activities. The novel prominently places the irrelevancy of wealth and possessions. Wealth and immersing of materials has by far have long lasting damaging effects, a stark reminder of the Charles Dickens angle on moral growth. People can easily be deceived by money leading them to paths which have nothing but loneliness, death and other things associated with misery (Dickens, Charles, and Clare West). This is revealed by the Compeyson a hot character who is willing to take all the foolish measures. The character does not regard the feelings of Miss Havishams whatsoever, and money is the primary objective to his deeds. When Pips discovers this, in his words remarked the following; I wonder he didnt marry her and get all the property. (Dickens 191). Compeyson declined to marry her in what he viewed as a disrespect to self in marrying a woman who is of higher social class than him. As demonstrated by this fictional work, wealth and possessions are a hazardous obsession; this is ascertained by the devastation characters experience when they opt for corrupt ways of pursuing wealth.

In conclusion, the two factions have similar lessons in both social, cultural and economic values where the characters are to uphold moral values as expected by the community. This is seen particularly through the miserable devastations one goes through when ones deviate from the accepted values. For the alchemist, acquisition of gold is not satisfying, but the spiritual wealth alongside material is satisfying. The two novels assert that ones personal development and beliefs are more important to the traditions. This does not, however, contradict the moral aspect of an individual to that of the tradition. For the alchemist, the purported belief that ones legend is better than traditions. This does not, however, contradict the moral aspect of an individual to that of the tradition. For the alchemist, the purported belief that ones legend is better than traditions. On the same note, the tribes in the desert go back to the tradition, a body of knowledge and beliefs (Coelho, Paulo et al.). However, the motive to pursue personal legend relate to great expectations motive for self-development. This does not, however, contradict the moral aspect of an individual to that of the tradition. For the alchemist, the purported belief that ones legend is better than traditions. Both fictions show the importance of upholding one's beliefs and stuck with them even when there are no material gains, a lesson which is invaluable to todays millennial.


Coelho, Paulo et al. The Alchemist. 1st ed., London, HarperCollins Publishers, 2010.

Dickens, Charles, and Clare West. Great Expectations. 1st ed., Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2008.


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