PLOT: 4.5/5 CHARACTERS: 4/5 CLIMAX: 4.5/5 WRITING STYLE: 4/5 ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 4.5/5
“You give but little when you give of your possessions.– Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”
Inspired by the long tradition of Oriental mysticism and philosophical monotheism, The Prophet is Lebanese-American writer Kahlil Gibran’s magnum opus. He was also an artist and a poet who gained international repute through the depth of his creations that rattle the soul and evoke spiritual awakening.
The Prophet is crisp yet profound with terse and compact anecdotal sayings. This collection of sayings emerges from a writer who has intensely musical leanings. The content of this book serves as lyrics to poetry that seems to be uttered by a globe-trotting dervish and can be sung if put to music.
At the core of this book is wisdom that is enriching not because it comes from a mind that bears such clarity and deep understanding of life and human nature but because of the profundity with which the ideas are relayed that make for a startling read.
Each page is bound to make the reader think outside of the box. This puts a chain of occurrences in place in the mind of the reader. The stoical mode of modern living, where humans are losing connection with their inner selves, serves as the primary reason why this book should be read.
It is a classic and one that does not take long to complete though the ideas conveyed by this book will keep hovering in the mind of the reader for a long time if they have attentively absorbed them and thought them through. This makes for an active and contemplative reading experience.
The book has 28 topics of concern to human existence on this planet that are discussed through examples, at times elaborated straightforwardly, and at other times the ideas that the writer wants to convey are hinted at or alluded to.
In either case, The Prophet sticks to certain core issues which are of importance to those who are inhabiting this planet, consider themselves a part of the human race, and want to get closer in touch with their inherent humaneness.
The plot is scattered with several characters who speak at different instances in different contexts to illuminate the thoughts of the writer. Hence, the medium of conveying the thoughts is through these characters but the individual behind these ideas remains the writer, Kahlil Gibran.
The characters like the Priestess, the weaver, the judge, the youth, the astronomer, and the orator are examples of people who stand as archetypes of the estate or profession they belong to. They serve their didactic purpose and pass on the value-based education that Gibran wants to relate to his readers.
In this sense, they have a certain function to perform and once that is over these nameless characters vanish into nowhere just like they came from it. The content of the book does not follow any specific chronology and the book can be opened at any chapter and read, though not necessary at any page, as each chapter follows a core idea that has a beginning, middle, and end.
The book, however, has certain fixed goals in mind such as making the reader wake up from a deep slumber of blissful ignorance and encouraging a spiritual awakening that goes beyond institutionalized religion to embracing the humane side of existence on this planet. It is this aspect that makes this book so popular as it continues to be a rage and remains relevant to date.
This timelessness emerges from a keen interest in observing the human condition and systematically deciphering the inner turmoil of being human. This makes the book offer solutions that have practical ends which serve to uplift the reader during the downs that life showcases and balances the emotions of the reader when he is flying high on the wings of successful living. Mirroring the human soul is very much a part of this book’s attractions.
Another core appeal of this book remains its revelatory nature. It encompasses a lot of values and wisdom that will reveal something new and offer a new perspective each time that the reader sits with this book. This makes the book a work of spiritual fiction.
Climactically, The Prophet maintains loosely drawn plots in each chapter and these are then interlaced with a higher ordered understanding of the ways of the world that has multiple climaxes which are portrayed through the sayings of the unnamed characters.
The narrative follows through dialogues and it is in these exchanges that the reader is bound to feel inspired and energized to relive life with a whole new outlook. The writing style is simple, though apt words are used and there is a poetic ring to the anecdotes. The vocabulary is easy to follow. The language is formal and maintains a certain standard of expression that adds to the content of the text and makes the reading process an enjoyable one.
On the whole, The Prophet is highly engaging, though not a very easy read, as it can get very abstract and densely philosophical at several points.
Cannot wait to read it? Buy your copy of The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran.