Summary and Analysis Prologue

Summary

An unnamed alchemist reads a variation on the Greek myth of Narcissus, the beautiful boy so enchanted by his own reflection in the surface of a lake that he falls into the water and drowns. In this version, the lake in turn is in love with its own reflection, in the eyes of Narcissus before he dies.

Analysis

This short episode introduces the reader to the character of the alchemist, who will be central to the action of the novel named for him. It also may serve as a warning to the reader, at the start of what could be called a self-help novel, about the hazards of self-love.

Pop Quiz!

How does the alchemist claim to know that Santiago would be coming?

Q&A

The first week of school isn't even over yet and I'm already in trouble — I forgot my textbook at school and can't do my homework! What should I do now?!

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