Siddhartha

AP/Honors Book note
for Siddhartha

 
Authorial Background
*Herman Hesse was born in the Black Forest town of Calw, Germany in 1877.
*Herman was the son and grandson of Protestant missionaries who had served in India.
*He was expected to follow in their footsteps by preparing for the ministry.
*He tried, but experienced a religious crisis, fled the seminary and attempted suicide.
*Hesse's first major novels displayed some major themes that were to absorb him throughout his career
-1st Theme
The dichotomy between the two worlds, the drab mundane external world of business and the shining, inner world of art and spirit.
-2nd Theme
The tortured adolescent who is cruelly oppressed by the "system," usually the expectations of his parents and teachers.
*In his last twenty years, Hesse lived in seclusion and published little. He died in 1962, just before his works became popular in the United States.

Literary period/country
*Contemporary/Ancient India

Characters
*Siddhartha
-Protagonist
-Main character in action
-He is stubborn in his quest and yet honored by his community and relatives.
*Govinda
-Siddhartha's psychological alter ego
-Main character's friend who provides opposing ideas and thoughts.
-He cares about his dear friend as he follows him throughout most of his quest.
*Gotoma (Buddha)
-Admired as the distinct holy one and as a great idol among the Hindus.
-Open Govinda's eyes, allowing him to seek his own path of peace which he finds through Buddha.
-Buddha is a peaceful man who is wise in his own teachings.
*Kamala
-Siddhartha's lover and concubine
-Siddhartha's motivation in his new materialistic lifestyle.
-Is the mother of Siddhartha's son.
-She is a seductive women who is desired by Siddhartha
*Vasudeva
-Siddhartha's mentor and newfound friend
-Teaches Siddhartha that peace can be found through the river.
-Vasudeva is a wise man who is straight forward with his comments and actions.
*Little Siddhartha
-Siddhartha's son
- He is not content with his father's accommodations and material possessions.
-Accustomed to the higher things in life
-Little Siddhartha is spoiled and disrespectful when he does not get what he wants.

 
Setting
*Ancient India, sometime in the life of the historical Buddha in the sixth century B.C.
*The three main settings for the action
-The village of Siddhartha's youth
-The town where he meets Kamala and Kamaswami
-The River
*The three settings correspond to the chronological structure of the novel; Siddhartha's youth, middle age, and finally his old age.

Themes
*Material vs. spiritual worlds
-This is shown to the reader when Siddhartha encounters the spiritually dignified aura of a Samana and the indulgent world of a merchant.
-Siddhartha finds that they are clearly distinct from one and another and he must choose either of the paths in order to speak the holy "Om" and be one with himself.
*Fathers loose their sons
-Siddhartha finds that he is unpleasant when he seeks the path already laid out before him by his father and his great Brahmin community.
-Being a young stubborn man, Siddhartha leaves his father to do what he finds pleasing and worthwhile.
-Little Siddhartha, however, leaves for a different reason. He finds the accommodations that were provided for him by his father to be unpleasing and lacking the essential creature comforts.

Plot Summary
Siddhartha is a young boy with an extravagant future ahead of him. With much of his education completed, the young Brahmin finds discontentment within himself. His vessel has not been overflowed with knowledge. He questions all the love and honor provided by his community and family and dear friend Govinda.
With this thirst of knowledge and quest for absolute peace, Siddhartha leaves his father after his act of stubbornness. He later joins the distinctly different Samanas. Here he learns the arts of fasting, thinking, and waiting. But after a time of restless self-denial, Siddhartha decides to leave. He hears about the Illustrious One. This man they call Gotoma or Buddha is supposedly a wonderful teacher incorporating all the methods of teaching.
Govinda finds the man to be pleasing and wise with his thoughts and sermons on doing away with suffering. Siddhartha, however, finds the one and only break in the chain. Siddhartha's question of how to find peace was not answered by this holy man. Leaving Govinda behind, Siddhartha enters his awakening. Siddhartha has done away with his spiritual world and enters the newly pleasing materialistic world. With a motivation from his newfound friend, Kamala, Siddhartha becomes a wealthy merchant who finds pleasure in gambling and acts of romance. Gradually as this life passes by he becomes like the people who surround him, enveloped in themselves. While resting in the mango grove, Siddhartha found joy after reminiscing about his prior life. His path was before him once again.
He left