Posted: November 27th, 2015



Main Writing Assignment (One 800-900 word essay of at least 4, but preferably more, paragraphs)

This essay will require a great deal of thought. Choose one of the topics below, and create an outline to help you organize your essay. Then, write an essay on the topic. Make sure that your essay has an introduction, at least two body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Use specific references from the text (the novel) to support your points.

1. Discuss Santiago. How do you perceive him? Talk about his personality, physical characteristics, and his overall philosophy/outlook on life. The book may not tell you all of these things outright, but you may make inferences and draw conclusions based on the way he interacts with other people and his sheep. How do you think his character is important to understanding the main point of the book?

2. Look at the roles of women or Arabs in the book. Are these fair portrayals of these groups, or are they stereotyped and limited? Use evidence from the book to support your position and explain the significance of your position. Do the depictions add to or detract from the value of the book as a whole?

3. Look at the following terms and definitions. Which one do you think Santiago uses to view life? Be sure to use examples from the story to support your choice.

a. Determinism: The belief that your fate is determined by some higher power. You have no control over your destiny.

b. Humanism: The belief that although determinism exists, you can overcome determinism through hard work and intelligent choices.

c. Free Will: The belief that you are in complete control of your own destiny. Your own actions are solely responsible for the consequences that affect your life.

4. The novel’s ending (in the Epilogue) brings us full circle in the sense that it takes us back to the beginning of the book. Why do you suppose Coelho does this? In what sense might this ending be important to understanding the main point of the book?


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