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Internal Conflict In Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha

1066 words - 4 pages

The novel Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse is a timeless story about one man’s journey of finding peace in his way of life and thoughts. Siddharta is a young Brahmin’s son, who is dissatisfied with his worship and in turn sets out to find the lifestyle that is right for him. Siddhartha is faced with many external, physical conflicts, yet that is not the most prominent type of conflict in the story. Hesse builds excitement and suspense through Siddhartha’s internal journey to create an emotional response usually associated with external conflict.
The start to Siddhartha’s suspenseful journey was when he was a fairly young boy.That was when he had one of his most important awakenings, realizing that his religion wasn’t enough to truly feed his spirit and mind, and give him the peace he was desiring. “And among the wise men that he knew and whose teachings he enjoyed, there was not one who had entirely reached it-- the heavenly world--not one who had completely quenched his eternal thirst” (8). He began to feel that no amount of religious knowledge, sacrifices, or prayers could be as important as being in complete peace with one’s mind and heart. The importance of this psychological aspect of Siddhartha’s journey can be shown with, “These were Siddhartha’s thoughts; this was his thirst, his sorrow” (8). This quote expresses just how important it was for Hesse to let the reader into Siddhartha’s mind, because there is much to be learned about him through his thoughts. This was also the first major step in Siddhartha’s journey, so the internal conflict begins to build excitement as the reader anticipates what will happen next on his quest for enlightenment.
Siddhartha’s entering into the “material world” is another aspect of the novel that is very much psychological, although there are external conflicts present as well. When Siddhartha decided to experiment with this new lifestyle, he had been through many extremes, both physically and mentally.
“He travelled along the path of self-denial through pain, through voluntary suffering and the conquering of pain, through hunger, thirst and fatigue” (15). As shown by this quote, he overcame hardships and endured much physical pain while he was a Samana, and yet he still hadn’t found the spiritual satisfaction he was looking for. This inspired him to step into the material world, learning the trade of business and engaging in gambling and sex. However, partaking in these things created a feeling of disillusionment in Siddhartha’s mind- he knew that the world he was living in was getting him nowhere in his journey- he would need to find a new path to travel. “ Awakening from this dream, he was overwhelmed by a feeling of great sadness. It seemed to him that he had spent his life in a worthless and senseless manner; he retained nothing vital, nothing in any way precious or worth while” (82). Siddhartha's thoughts reveal to the reader that he is not content in his current standing. This continues to...

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