Moral and Ethical Question
         Every person has a Personal Legend, be it followed, suppressed, or yet unknown to the person. It exists as a testimony to the greatness of humanity, the purity that all people can achieve, the crowning utopia within oneself. A Personal Legend is a person?s ultimate desire. It is the necessity to be completely true to oneself. Those that ignore their Personal Legends will lead lives of misery but will never understand the reason for their dissatisfaction with their lives. In The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho, the heart and the person are two separate entities. The heart symbolizes the truth that lies within every person, the secret hopes and fears that are kept hidden from prying eyes. The person is the side presented to the world, the words and actions that are seen and judged. The heart jealously guards the Personal Legend to preserve and protect it until the person is ready to accept it. Not all people accept their Personal Legends. For those whose practical side is dominant, the heart eventually gives up its fight to bring the person fulfillment and becomes submissive, allowing the Personal Legend to be forgotten. For those people that are not afraid of following their destinies, their Personal Legend becomes the focus of their life. What begins as a physical journey becomes a spiritual commune with God. The treasure is not what is waiting at the end of the journey but the journey itself, the discoveries made, and the wisdom acquired. The moral question that The Alchemist explores is whether or not it is right to neglect the expectations and responsibilities placed on a person by society and pursue one?s Personal Legend. This decision to do so is always very difficult and demands great sacrifices. The book, however, tells us that the positive aspects resulting from this decision far outweigh the sacrifices that one must make. The issue is resolved when the main character Santiago, shoulders his own Personal Legend and sets off on the trek to find his treasure. We see the struggle that he goes through, the problems that arise before him, but ultimately, it is his triumph that makes the pursuit of one?s Personal Legend so worthwhile. The experience of the spiritual journey and the things that he learns along the way allow him to grow and mature into a sage young man, wise in the Universal Language and the Soul of the World. This question of society versus Personal Legend still resounds in our lives today. As students and teenagers, we encounter a lot of peer pressure to hop on the band wagon and be like everyone else. We are expected to dress in the latest fashions, take all the difficult AP classes, do community service, take leadership positions in school, try out for every possible team and group on campus; be athletically, musically, and academically excellent all at the same time; and basically, do everything that everyone else does and be good at it. However, by imitating others and trying to fulfill every expectation, we are not being true to ourselves. We are allowing the demands of society dictate our actions and behavior. This is a gross betrayal of our heart and Personal Legend. The same conclusion holds true for our lives as it did in the Alchemist. It is not right to neglect one?s Personal Legend and goal in life to satisfy others. It is not necessary to be the same as everyone else. It is a great and courageous thing to be break out of the mold and be true to oneself. Do not be afraid to pursue your Personal Legend, to do what it is you really have a passion for in life and make your life as fulfilling and satisfying as it can be. Remember, ?To realize one?s destiny is a person?s only real obligation.?