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Siddhartha, Hermann Hesse - Essay

Introduction

❶Please remember all the material here is made by students and is meant to supplement other students' work. The protagonist Siddhartha must first journey from his life as a Brahmin in order to understand his search for spiritual enlightenment.

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by Hermann Hesse
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Essays on Siddhartha

In the city, he meets Kamala and Kamaswami. Kamala and Kamaswami try hard to teach him their ways of the city.

She introduces him to Kamaswami, a rich, old, merchant. The merchant lets him stay in the house, and Siddhartha learns how to persuade and sell. Soon he also becomes wealthy and lives the life of affluent man.

Kamala teaches him the ways of love and they quickly become close friends, accepting that neither of them can truly experience love. You cannot love either, otherwise how could you practice love as an art? Perhaps people like us cannot love.

He learns to play dice, to watch dancers, and to eat fine food. He understands that he needs to leave this path behind, so he departs to the forest. Siddhartha stood at the end of the river bank. At this moment; he heard the sound of Om. Siddhartha is relaxed by the noise. He rested his head on a tree root and fell into his slumber.

When Siddhartha awakened, he noticed a monk; he soon recognizes the face of his old friend, Govinda. Siddhartha thinks of the river with the friendly ferryman, and decides he wants to stay there. But he learned more from the river than Vasudeva could ever teach him.

After living with his friend Vasudeva, people in the town began to hear about the men that live by the river. The following entry presents criticism on Hesse's novella Siddhartha: Eine indische Dichtung ; Siddhartha: An Indian Poetic Work. Siddhartha is often considered the high point of Hesse's art in fiction, as well as the pinnacle of his fascination with orientalism. The novella is concerned with the individual's search for truth and identity by means of what Hesse termed the Weg nach Innen inward journey , a recurring theme throughout his works; in fact, Siddhartha was written after a difficult period of introspection in Hesse's own life.

Although the novella was completed by and was widely recognized and appreciated in Europe, it did not become popular in the United States until the s and s. During that period, American youth, embroiled in an era of cultural upheaval, identified with the title character and his struggle to transcend meaninglessness and materialism through mysticism and love, and a near cult following for Hesse ensued.

The popularity of Siddhartha, while no longer near that of the 60s and 70s, remains steady. It was written during Hesse's second and most productive period— to A crisis initiated by multiple personal problems led Hesse to undergo psychoanalysis during the early part of this stage, an intensive therapy which provided Hesse the incentive to begin his Weg nach Innen toward self-awareness and ultimately to greater self-realization, all of which helped shape the writing of Siddhartha.

The title character of Siddhartha is the son of a Brahman who with his friend Govinda leaves home and caste to join the ascetic Samanas.

For three years Siddhartha and Govinda deny the body's senses and external world, yet Siddhartha fails to find the true path he is seeking. He renounces this life of ritual and asceticism and departs with Govinda to hear Gautama Buddha speak. Govinda decides to stay with Gautama, but Siddhartha does not accept the Buddha's teaching and declares that one must seek truth through living, not preaching. Leaving Govinda and the Buddha, Siddhartha encounters a river, which becomes a symbolic motif throughout the narrative, representing the boundary between two universes and two lifestyles.

Siddhartha now immerses himself in the world of the senses, the physical universe—the polar opposite of the austere nature of repressed sense perception he was previously pursuing. Siddhartha travels across the river to a city where he meets Kamala, a courtesan, who introduces him to a life of wealth and pleasure—sexual and commercial. Siddhartha returns to the river, which now functions as the symbol of a turning point, rather than a boundary. There, in despair, he nearly commits suicide, but, in observing the mystical symbology of the river, does not.

Determined to stay by the river, Siddhartha lives with the ferryman Vasudeva: After twelve years Kamala visits the river bringing the son Siddhartha fathered and dies from a snakebite. Siddhartha cares for the boy and discovers that he loves his son desperately. But the child is spoiled and longs only to leave the two boatmen and return to the city, which he eventually succeeds in doing. Through his son's departure, Siddhartha experiences first the pain of love and then pure, unselfish devotion, eventually learning the lesson of the river: Hesse's Siddhartha reflects much of the literary and intellectual history of Germany and Western Europe during the first decades of the twentieth century.

In particular, the work has many points in common with the romantic movement, neo-romanticism, and expressionism. The years after in Europe were filled with literary turmoil and experimentation, and the results of both the psychoanalytic movement and the new orientalism then in vogue are much evidenced in Siddhartha. The importance of what Hesse termed Weg nach Innen —the individual's struggle to transcend the materialism of bourgeois society through art, mysticism, and love—is especially palpable in Siddhartha.

Highly influenced by the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, Hesse had vowed to reject traditional religion and morality and lead a life of individualism and isolation.

Siddhartha also rejects traditional religion and morality, and ultimately finds that pure individualism is an embrace of unity, with love as the synthesizing agent. Hesse portrayed the dominant mythic overtones in Siddhartha by borrowing various facts from Gautama the Buddha: Gautama left his wife for a life of asceticism, much as Siddhartha left Kamala; the Buddha spent several years meditating on a riverbank and received his revelations under the Bo-tree, just as Siddhartha spends his final years beside a river and discovers enlightenment beneath a mango tree; and Siddhartha's final vision of the world as a simultaneity and totality corresponds to the Buddha's vision of interconnectedness.

But there are also fundamental differences, due to the fact that Hesse's overall philosophy is explicitly opposed to that of Gautama the Buddha, who made a conscious attempt to put forth an established pattern of religious development. Thus, Siddhartha fits well both in the genres of the Erziehungsromane, or novel of education, and the Bildungsroman. Hesse addressed in Siddhartha, as in most of his other works, characters who struggle to come to terms with themselves, individuals who passionately attempt self-realization.

Siddhartha has generated a vast body of critical commentary and has profoundly affected readers throughout the world, though its popularity peaks most notably during periods of social ferment. During the Weimar Republic in Germany, from to , much politically motivated criticism of Hesse was in evidence. Throughout the Third Reich Hesse experienced both political and literary rejection.

After National Socialism collapsed and Hesse won the Nobel Prize for Literature in , there was a rebirth of interest in his writing among German critics and scholars.

During the last period of Hesse's life, when he wrote relatively little, his work was made more readily available in many reprints, new editions, and collections. Although Hesse's highly romantic prose style does not always lend itself easily to translation, many of his writings were translated into English after World War II, affording Hesse a wider audience.

In the s and s Siddhartha was well received in the United States; the novella garnered an almost cult following, especially among the youth of the era. Hesse's extreme individualism and focus on the inner self, along with his disparagement of modern society and interest in the East, all spoke to a generation who often viewed America as a materialistic, mass-oriented, and morally bankrupt society.

Hesse's belief in the ultimate meaningfulness of life became an inspiration for dissidents and seekers from both the establishment and the burgeoning counterculture of the s and s. The author's ability to universalize private agony and personal crises, as demonstrated in Siddhartha, has allowed Hesse to achieve an ongoing international popularity. Drei Geschichten aus dem Leben Knulps [ Knulp: Three Tales from the Life of Knulp ] A study of Hesse's works reveals the fact that through the garden motif much of his inner world and development can be studied, and the symbolic character of the use of gardens becomes more and more apparent.

A number of critics of Hesse's works have suggested that a study of the use of water and clouds should be most interesting.


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Siddhartha Essay: The Symbols of the Smile and the River in Siddhartha - The Symbols of the Smile and the River in Siddhartha An important symbol in Siddhartha is the smile. Each of the three characters in the story who attain a final state of complete serenity is characterized by a beautiful smile which reflects their peaceful, harmonious state.

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Siddhartha was the envy of every young Brahmin, he made everybody happy. "But Siddhartha himself was not happy" (5). Siddhartha was not satiated with the teachings of the Brahmins, he wanted to learn more, and he was hungry for knowledge.

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Siddhartha Essay. BACK; NEXT ; Writer’s block can be painful, but we’ll help get you over the hump and build a great outline for your paper. Siddhartha’s humility was not present throughout and held him back, much unlike his patience. While Siddhartha lacks humility for most of his life, his patience was steady continuously. Siddhartha’s patience is a tremendous benefit towards his achieving enlightenment.

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Keywords: siddhartha essay, siddhartha road. Siddhartha, a man looking for enlightenment, was able to find it among a river. It took Siddhartha many years and several failed attempts to obtain his own personal enlightenment. His first attempt was to explore the traditional religious path to enlightenment. Siddhartha journeys from his life as a Brahmin in order to understand his search for spiritual enlightenment. In the beginning, life for Siddhartha was tranquil; his family, friends, and people of the town adored him. Despite this, Siddhartha feels ill-fated as if there was nothing left for him there.