This essay assignment from Preserving Civilization uses the Part 2 format of the New York State Regents exam, but can be used for any document-based essay. Students are asked to read The Alchemist written by Paulo Coehlo as well as 4 articles that explain some allusions from the novel: trees, Melchizedek, Santiago de Compostela, and Urim and Thumimm. Using evidence from the novel as well the articles, the students argue whether or not the allusions enhance the story. They can use the classic five paragraph format and an use 4 or 5 of the articles. This assignment can be used for close-reading exercises and is fully editable.