The Alchemist Essay | Student Essay

This student essay consists of approximately 7 pages of analysis of The Socially Defined Self in "The Alchemist".
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The Socially Defined Self in "The Alchemist"

Summary: In Ben Johnson's "The Alchemist," the concept of self is defined as a product of external social constructs, not internal reasoning. Character traits, he says, are learned behavoirs that reinforces this.
In The Alchemist, Ben Johnson's treatment of the self works to maintain a conservative worldview where identity is intimately tied to one's social standing. The permanence of the self is shown to be dependant upon both continued performance and ongoing social reinforcement. Character traits are treated as stubbornly enduring coping strategies rather than as signs of a coherent, internally unified self. Johnson's treatment of his characters' fantasies as vices to be exploited rejects the idea of an internally created self where fantasy is the impetus for change and self-improvement. The allegorical effect of The Alchemist presents an anti-existentialist treatment of the self that privileges knowledge of one's social role and standing above introspection and self-contemplation.

In The Alchemist the unity of the self is provisional, dependant upon continuous social reinforcement. The characters who are successfully gulled are the ones who lose sight of...

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This section contains 1,915 words
(approx. 7 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Student Essay on The Socially Defined Self in "The Alchemist"
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