The Spiritual Journey of a Prostitute in Coelho's "Eleven Minutes"

Kavitha Ganesan
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Albeit the widely accepted idea that spirituality stems from religious beliefs, Paulo Coelho had always succeeded in identifying the apparent truth of human existence, as another means of spirituality, nonetheless than the realisation of the self. Among all his works, which are naturally inclined towards spirituality, his novel, Eleven Minutes holds the most controversial status owing to its storyline. It vividly, with most astounding style of writing revolves around the protagonist (i.e. Maria), a prostitute, with a beginning point where she decides that this could be an exciting and adventurous job. Yet, what starts off as curiosity and anxiety towards sexual encounters, especially after her adolescent frustration towards love, eventually brings her unto realising her love for a painter. Nevertheless, throughout her journey as a sex worker, she finds the ultimate truth about herself. A spiritual realisation, ironically, in the case of this novel, emerges through the ‘eleven minutes’ of sacred sex. Therefore, it is the aim of this paper to examine the ways in which Coelho had portrayed the sexual journey of a prostitute as a spiritual one.

Keywords: Sacred Sex, Spirituality, Self Realisation, Spiritual Journey of a Prostitute
Stream: Literature, Literary Studies, Sexuality, Gender, Families
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Spiritual Journey of a Prostitute in Coelho's "Eleven Minutes", The

Kavitha Ganesan

Lecturer, The Centre for the Promotion of Knowledge and Language Learning, Universiti Malaysia Sabah
Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia

Kavitha had completed her first degree in TESL and had pursued a Masters degree in English Literature, both of which were from Universiti Putra Malaysia in West Malaysia. Her interests include transcendentalism in contemporary writers' works as well as feminism and queer cultures in Malaysian writers' works. Since she has been teaching the international students, Kavitha's interest also deals within the realms of teaching English to non English speakers that includes the issue of motivating the reluctant learner.

Ref: H06P0448