English 4 A1
March 25, 2014
Siddhartha: By Hermann Hesse
Siddhartha is a much respected son of a Brahmin who lives with his father in ancient India. Everyone in their town expects Siddhartha to act like his father and become successful. Although he lives a very high quality life, Siddhartha is dissatisfied and along with his best friend Govinda- wants nothing more than to join the group of wandering ascetics called Samana’s. This group starves themselves, travels almost naked and must beg for the food they survive on. This group of people believes that to achieve enlightenment and self-actualization: body image, health, physical and material desires must be thrown away. Although this is the life Siddhartha wished for himself, he soon discovers that it is not the right choice for him. Near desolation, Siddhartha happens upon a river where he hears a strange sound. This sound signifies the beginning of the life he was born to live – the beginning of his true self. Hesse uses many literary devices to assure Siddhartha’s goal of self-actualization and creates a proper path for that success.
Hesse uses setting greatly affect the variety of factors that influence the story line. Siddhartha travels away from home to gain knowledge and throughout his travels; he comes across many different settings. The settings encountered do not only affect Siddhartha individually, but the story as a whole: aiding to support Hesses’ purpose of Siddhartha’s travels.
The first section of the novel discusses various settings which symbolize the difficulties that Siddhartha must go through to find enlightenment. In the first chapter, it is stated that Siddhartha’s home is located in the quiet and peaceful calm setting of an Indian village. This is described in the first sentence of the novel “In the shade of the house, in the sunshine on the river bank by the boats, in the shade of the sallow wood and the fig tree…” (Hesse, 3).
Female characters play a very important role in Siddhartha- specifically Kamala. Kamala is a courtesan who is introduced to Siddhartha on the outskirts of their city. Upon research, it has been learned that in Hinduism, “Kama”...