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The Pilgrimage Study Guide & Plot Summary

Paulo Coelho
This Study Guide consists of approximately 48 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Pilgrimage.
This section contains 519 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our The Pilgrimage Study Guide

The Pilgrimage Summary & Study Guide Description

The Pilgrimage Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion on The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho.

Plot Summary

Paulo is a thirty-eight year old, intelligent man who feels he has successfully completed his training to become a Master in an ancient and mysterious religious tradition. Paulo has survived many trials and learned many lessons in order to reach the point of being awarded a new sword: an emblem of his achievement. However, Paulo has failed to learn one final and very important lesson: what he is to do with his sword. As a result of not understanding this lesson, Paulo must undertake one final journey. If he does not succeed, he will not receive his sword and the title of Master.

Paulo is instructed by his Master to undertake a pilgrimage of seven hundred kilometers from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in France to Santiago in Spain. The route is one that has been followed by pilgrims for centuries. Paulo's destination is the town of Compostela, also referred to as Santiago, and the tomb of San Tiago. San Tiago was an evangelist, who spread the word of Christ following the crucifixion. Visiting San Tiago's tomb is one of three holy pilgrimages people can make. The other two are to Rome and Jerusalem.

Along his journey Paulo is guided by a man named Petrus. Petrus has achieved the title of Master and is now called upon to lead other prospective masters during their pilgrimages. Petrus teaches Paulo eleven different RAM exercises meant to enhance his search for the sword. The exercises include methods for reaching relaxation; for calling upon a messenger for help; for facing death; for discerning the correct solution to a problem, and for increasing the amount of love one has for the world. The exercises are taught in a specific order along the Road to Santiago and progress according to the trials Paulo faces.

During his quest Paulo meets many interesting people, who both help and hinder his efforts. Mme Lourdes, Father Jordi, Alfonso, Andrew, and a lamb all offer assistance. Legion, a gypsy, and a couple of small boys try to divert Paulo from reaching his goal. Astrain functions in both capacities. He is helpful in some instances, but in times of great need, Astrain offers bad counsel. Part of Paulo's job during his quest is to filter through all the pieces of advice and compile the pieces which will lead him to his sword.

Paulo's journey isn't only a mental one but also a physical and spiritual one. Paulo must walk the entire seven hundred kilometers. He cannot take any short-cuts, or he will risk being denied the acquisition of his sword for the final time. Besides walking the entire road Paulo must climb up a fifty-foot waterfall, battle a demonic dog, and raise a fallen wooden cross. In the midst of these physical tests Paulo must learn to search his spirit for the wisdom to understand the truth behind his sword.

Paulo's journey is one of discovery. He is searching for enlightenment in order to complete his Master training and obtain his sword. Paulo seeks to free himself from the confines of reality, to find the purpose of his sword, and learn how to integrate the RAM practices to his advantage.

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This section contains 519 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our The Pilgrimage Study Guide
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The Pilgrimage from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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