Summary of the Novella Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse Essay
The book, written by Hermann Hesse and entitled Siddhartha, dwells upon a man who searches for enlightenment in ancient India. The main character of the book, Siddhartha, is a son of a respectable spiritual leader. Siddhartha is also respected as he is knowledgeable and he is expected to be a leader just like his father as the young man manages to learn spiritual rituals quite early. Nonetheless, the protagonist is not satisfied with following rituals as he is keen on reaching enlightenment. He is wise and brave enough to start his journey to enlightenment and he is ready to change his direction if necessary.
The book is concerned with the life of the protagonist which is also his path to enlightenment. He resorts to many ways to achieve his goal and reaches it at the end of his long and meaningful life. He starts his journey when he forces his father to let him go with Samanas who try to avoid any pleasures of life to become enlightened. However, soon Siddhartha understands that this is not the way to enlightenment and joins the followers of Gautam who is regarded to be the new Buddha.
After a while, the protagonist understands that though Gautam may be enlightened, he cannot teach anyone to achieve this higher goal and Siddhartha leaves the teacher. He starts living in the city where he learns a lot about life pleasures and especially about love. He lives this life for a long time, but realizes that this is the wrong way and abandons the city for the life by the river where he learns a lot of secrets of the universe. Several years later he learns that he has a son and starts living with him, but the young man dislikes the life of a poor ferryman and abandons Siddhartha, which becomes one of the last lessons that bring Siddhartha to enlightenment.
One of the major motifs in the book is the notion of Om. This is a symbol of unity of everything in the universe. Siddhartha first learns about the Om, then he understands what the Om is and at the end of his life he feels it as he sees himself as a part of the universe. Another important motif is that of love. Siddhartha loves his father, he also learns about physical love and has a chance to understand what the love to a son is. All these manifestations of love can be regarded as Siddhartha’s steps towards enlightenment.
The book also reveals certain issues. The book teaches that a person should be brave to pursue his/her goals and find new ways to reach the aims set. Another important issue raised is that people should not totally rely on other individuals’ experience. There can be no teacher as everyone should try to find his/her own way to enlightenment. People should also have patience and they should be ready to accept the truth.
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