Siddhartha Essay

946 words - 4 pages


In the novel Siddhartha a young man journeys away from his family on a quest for knowledge. Siddhartha, a young Indian Brahmin grows restless with his life at home in a small Indian village. He leaves with his best friend Govinda to become a samana. Soon Siddhartha becomes aware that the way of the Samana’s does not teach true salvation, and he and Govinda leave to seek Gotama Buddha. When they finally do find the Buddha, Siddhartha decides that he doesn’t want to learn what the Buddha has to teach. He leaves Govinda behind and goes off in search for a life of possessions, and pleasure. He finds this desired life as the business partner to a rich merchant, and with frequent visits to Kamala, the local courtesan. He fathers a son, and becomes distant. He begins to gamble, and soon looses all his money. Realizing his strong dislike for the life he was living, he leaves. He tells no one of his plans, not even Kamala. Siddhartha goes to a river he was once taken across by a kind ferryman, Vasudeva. He stays at this river because of a sound that only he can hear. A sound that symbolizes everything that he has always wanted. He stays at this river until Kamala, on a pilgrimage to see the Buddha, dies, leaving her son with his father Siddhartha. His son shows nothing but resentment and disobedience for his father, and eventually runs away. Siddhartha goes to find him, but instead finds his old friend, Govinda. It is with Govinda that the story ends, and Siddhartha realizes where his life is going.

Point of View

In Siddhartha, by Herman Hesse, Hesse uses third person, omniscient, neutral rather than objective because many of Siddhartha’s actions could not be understood if the reader didn’t know what he was thinking.

Several of his actions would be unthinkable, unless you knew his reasons.
“Silently Siddhartha stood in the fierce sun's rays, filled with pain and thirst, and stood until he no longer felt pain and thirst. Silent he stood in the rain, water dripping from his hair... Silently Siddhartha crouched among the thorns. Blood dripped from his smarting skin, ulcers formed, and Siddhartha remained stiff, motionless, till no more blood flowed, till there was no more pricking, no more smarting.”(14).

Had the novel been written as “a fly on the wall” the reader would not know what Siddhartha was trying to accomplish, and that he is a man who “Has one single goal- to become empty... to experience pure thought. (14)”. A reader without being able to get into Siddhartha's mind might think that he is just a psychopath who mutilates himself.

When Siddhartha finally found a teacher who had something to offer him, one might have expected him to stay. This man, this...

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