Humanitarian / Literature Book Report/Review


Eleven Minutes Paulo Coelho Analysis

This paper presents an analysis of Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coelho through an examination of its plot structure, genre, narrative style, language and diction, setting, and characters.

Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coelho

This novel is a story of Maria, a young girl who travels from her hometown in Brazil to Geneva, Switzerland, to explore the world. She hopes to become popular and famous and travels around the world to achieve this dream. However, things go south as Roger deceives her with the promise of a better life (Elcomblus, 2019).

Roger plans to use her as a prostitute and takes her to Geneva, promising otherwise. However, upon getting to Geneva, Roger reveals his true intention and drags Maria into a chain of prostitution. Eventually, she finds love in the line of business through Ralf Hart (Elcomblus, 2019).

Plot Structure

Through the novel, Coelho presents Maria as a strong believer in the concept of love. Coelho presents Maria as having first felt love at a young age, precisely eleven years. At this age, she falls for a neighbor, although he fails to love her back. In turn, this leads to developing a hatred for the boy.

Throughout the novel, Maria then has other boyfriends through which she explores the idea of relationships. However, she gets tired and then vows to avoid love. At a later age, she travels to Rio de Janeiro, where she meets Roger, who makes false promises. 

She then travels Geneva on his promise to make her a samba star. However, upon getting to Geneva, what she receives is an offer of sex in return for money. This leads her to Copacabana, a brothel in Rue de Berne, where she engages in prostitution in order to earn a living (Elcomblus, 2019). 

She then meets with various individuals such as Nyah and Heide, whom she befriends. The conditions of her service also cause her to lose further interest in love. She believes she should not fall in love due to an activity that lasts only “eleven minutes.”

However, she later gets reintegrated into love following her exposure to Ralf Hartz. This love eventually puts her off her sexual activities and reignites her desire to return home, some six months earlier than scheduled. 

She purchases a ticket to her town, although feeling bad that she had failed to purchase the number of souvenirs she would have loved. Ralf Hartz then meets her at the airport, further affirming their love (Elcomblus, 2019).


The story is presented as prose, and it is generally considered a novel. It also presents a romantic novel, thanks to the various sexual relationship within the novel, especially between Maria and Ralf Hartz (Elcomblus, 2019).

Narrative Style 

Paulo Coelho presents this novel from the third person point of view. He starts from an omniscient perspective but then shifts to a limited perspective. As such, information available to the readers is merely information within the thought and consciousness of the main character. 

Also, Coelho utilizes what is considered the "epistdary style.” This involves the presentation of the story through a diary. Coelho also utilizes an intrusive writing style (Elcomblus, 2019). 

Language and Diction 

Paulo Coelho presents his novel through an informal language, usually including commonly used language. Coelho also presents various conversations in dialect, for instance, when Maria conversed with her clients like Ralf Hart (Elcomblus, 2019).


Coelho utilizes various physical settings in Eleven Minutes. The novel starts in a small town in Brazil. Then, she later moves to a city – Rio de Janeiro – at the age of nineteen. Then, Coelho progresses and presents Maria in Geneva, a city in Switzerland. The play finally ends in Rue de Berne, a smaller town in Switzerland (Elcomblus, 2019).

Character Analysis 

To detail his story, Coelho utilizes various characters such as Maria, Ralf Hart, Roger, Terence, Milan, Nyah, and Heidi. They are examined below (Elcomblus, 2019).


Maria represents the main character and protagonist of this novel. Coelho presents her as a girl from a traditional area in Brazil, whose goal was to find love, marry, and have a wonderful family. She also possesses a keen interest in going on an adventure, which leads her to be a prostitute in Europe. 

Ralf Hart

Ralf Hart is a painter. He falls for Maria and claims that he sees and appreciates Maria’s light. Coelho presents him as a man with a deep desire for sex. He then rekindles and satisfies this desire through Maria. He requests Maria to be beyond a prostitute but instead his companion. 


Roger is a man from Switzerland who makes false promises to Maria. He promises to make her a star and take her to Geneva. However, he plans to turn her into a prostitute, which he does upon taking her there. He is generally quiet and appears nice. However, he is deceitful and power-driven.


Terence is a man who engages in marital infidelity because his wife cheats. He also suffers from depression and sees his infidelity as a defense and coping mechanism. He is a popular and special client at Maria’s workplace due to his sexual request of sadomasochism – a ritual of pleasure and pain during sexual activities.


Milan owns the club where Maria works. He is married and, as such, generally exercises caution to protect his image from the prostitution that takes place at his club. Although involved in prostitution, he is a distinct character from Roger as he exhibits a good manner and treats his employees with respect. 


Nyah is another prostitute that works in Milan’s club. Coelho presents her as Maria’s confidant. She is also not from Geneva, as she is from the Philippines. She comes off as friendly and helps newbies in the prostitution business. 


Heid is a librarian who then doubles as Maria’s friend. Although not versed in actual sexual performanceEleven Minutes Paulo Coelho Analysis, she learns all about them from various books. She helps Maria throughout Maria’s time in Geneva by providing books and advice on issues to Maria.


This analysis of Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coelho has examined the core aspects of this literary masterpiece. It also presented an overview of the plot and storyline.


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