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Journeys in Siddhartha and Hunger by Pariya Sripakdeevong

Journeys in Siddhartha and Hunger by Pariya Sripakdeevong

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This paper is a commentary on the role that Journey play in Siddhartha by Herman Hesse and Hunger by Knut Hamsun, based on the IB paper II rubric. The assignment question appeared in the IB exam on November 2005
Pariya Sripakdeevong
This paper is a commentary on the role that Journey play in Siddhartha by Herman Hesse and Hunger by Knut Hamsun, based on the IB paper II rubric. The assignment question appeared in the IB exam on November 2005
Pariya Sripakdeevong

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Published by: weilly on Apr 19, 2008
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Will S.IB English SLY109/02/08Paper II practice
 Journeys, both literal and metaphorical, often play a central role in literature. Discusswith reference to works you have studied. (Nov. 2006)
In Siddhartha, by Hermann Hesse, and Hunger, by Knut Hamsun, journey playsmomentous roles in the character development. Siddhartha, the Brahmin’s son,learns the most important lesson of his life after he abandons everything and setsout to find the underlying truth in a clueless journey. Alternatively, the narratorwanders around the city of Christiania, hoping to earn his place in society, yeteventually realizing the futility in his journey. Initially in the journeys, bothcharacters’ lack of food consumption leads to abandonment in the characters’connection to people and the outside world. As both characters wander aroundthe forest and the city, illusion lures in as they meet women and become eager toearn fine possessions. Finally, Siddhartha and the narrator abandons the long journey with the hope they gain through connection with the river or the sea;Siddhartha discovers enlightenment as he crosses the river, and the narratordiscovers futility in the city as he takes the voyage across the sea. Throughout the journeys, the two characters finally develop their new perspective of viewing theworld.
 
In the journeys, Siddhartha abandons his relationship with people andpossessions by fasting, while in Hunger the narrator loses connection with thepeople in the city because of his suffering from hunger. Siddhartha views fastingas a way to escape from the tormenting Self, while the narrator in Hunger viewshunger as the trouble causing his hallucinations and thus impeding him fromconsciousness. Siddhartha, the noble Brahmin stands up for his definite goal inlife when he leaves his title and family behind, to join the Samanas. Patiently,Siddhartha tries to abandon his Self by fasting. He cuts off his connection to theoutside world, and finds “torment of the onerous life cycle” (12) where he “feltthirst, conquered thirst, [and] felt new thirst” (12). Although realizing that fastingonly alleviates him through “temporary escape from the torment of Self” (13),the prideful young Siddhartha refuses to settle under Gotama, the Illustriousone. “Thirsted for knowledge....[and] full of questions” (15) Siddhartha believesthat “nobody finds salvation through teachings” (27). Consequently, Siddharthaleaves his best friend, Govinda, who decides to become the disciple of Gotama,and continues his path as a Samana alone. Wandering through the city, hungercauses hallucination in the narrator of Hunger, and thus forces the narrator to beisolated from the conventions. The narrator is “becoming a freak from hunger inthe middle of the city of Christina!” [104]. The effects of constant sufferings ofstarvation cause mind blockage in the narrator; he could not write as he used to
 
when he “was so much better off” [154] and hence could not find money topurchase food. His hallucination causes him to be viewed as insane, as thenarrator starts talking to himself and repeating phrases over and over at manypoints in the text. The narrator’s relationship with Ylayali ends (and so does allhis connections to the world) because of his odd behaviors. As the narratorreveals to Ylayali that he “can sense things…That’s all part of [his] insanity”(180), Ylayali becomes suddenly “frightened” [182] of the narrator. The authoruses extended metaphor, comparing hunger to the dark shadow that follows thenarrator everywhere; hunger is “the same darkness was brooding around me, thesame fathomless black eternity” [80]. “Hunger was beginning to take hold of[the narrator] again” [122]; it was never gone. Conversely, it is the hunger fromfasting for Siddhartha that brings him temporary escapes from the Self that wasnever gone. Note that food (dinner with family or cocktails with friends) oftenenhances social connections in the real world. Siddhartha’s consumption of finefood during the part of life as a wealthy businessman suggests Siddhartha at hishighest point of social involvement. The narrator, too, had access to food whenhe “was so much better off” [154] with old acquaintances such as Hans Pauli,who now “nodded and hurried past” [8] the narrator. Hence, the lack of foodconsumption in both characters account for the abandonment of the outsideworld.

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