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Samiha Islam

English Period 4

9/20/10

HW#6 (9/20): Write several paragraphs discussing the plot structure of Siddhartha. Be sure to mention the following terms: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. The novel, Siddhartha, by Herman Hesse, has a very profound and complex story line which is essentially revolved around philosophy and Buddhism. The exposition of the story goes along the lines of; Siddhartha, the tall and handsome Brahmin price adored by all is very dissatisfied with his life in the Brahmin. This world is based on the Vedic texts which aren’t enough to satisfy Siddhartha’s insatiable appetite for ultimate knowledge. To take note, the Brahmin society in India during the 6th century was the most acknowledged and superior class of people, to be a Brahmin meant a great deal. Several of the rising actions include, leaving home from his father, joining the Samanas, meeting the Gotama and realizing that, conquering his Self, rather than fleeing from it or gaining ultimate knowledge, was his major goal. Reaching his late teenage years in which he experienced love making with Kamala and the life of mercantilism with Kamaswami helped him experience Samsara, continuous cycle of rebirth due to the viced of the materialistic world. Thus develops his self to self conflict, in which he questions himself, and is on a journey to find his purpose in life. In addition, the major themes like; gaining self actualization through experience, that everyone has to face the problems of teen hood and having relationships to build upon your own life and building self respect. In my opinion, the major climax in the book was when Siddhartha fled from the splendorous town and wanted to commit suicide because he was fed up with his life of avarice, ignorance, and lack of self control. He wanted to suicide and give up on trying to achieve his prior goals until he heard the magical word of Om, perfection; he heard the river speak to him.

The resolution was. and so began the falling actions. Vasudeva. This was where Siddhartha started to achieve enlightenment with the help of a new friend.At this moment. the way to listen to the river and conquer the Self. Siddhartha reawakened. Siddhartha admired Vasudeva for his smile. and the burden of letting his son. it was as if he had been reborn and given a second chance this time with a clear conscience and mind to guide him. you will do what is best for them. and learn to love nature and be one with nature. . The day Vasudeva went into the woods to die. admit their mistakes. work load. Vasudeva listned to Siddhartha. To conquer the Self. Siddhartha became a holy man. This was when Siddhartha was able to experience love for another person and that if you truly love someone. shared his happiness. the ferrymen. he became new. Vasudeva taught Siddhartha to listen to the river and explained to Siddhartha what Siddhartha had been uncertain of. the smile scarcely seen due to the few people who have received spiritual perfection and harmony. he left behind the Siddhartha one last magical knowledge. Siddhartha (junior) go when Kamala had died due to a snake bite and left her son to Siddhartha. sorrow. and showed Govinda his childhood friend the secret of the river. one had to admit they were part of the Maya.

but he is secretly dissatisfied. He . lives with his father in ancient India.Chapter 1: "The Brahmin's Son" Chapter 2: "With the Samanas" Chapter 3: "Gotama" Chapter 4: "Awakening" Chapter 5: "Kamala" Chapter 6: "Amongst the People" Chapter 7: "Samsara" Chapter 8: "By the River" Chapter 9: "The Ferryman" Chapter 10: "The Son" Chapter 11: "Om" Chapter 12: "Govinda" Exposition: Siddhartha. the handsome and respected son of a Brahmin. Siddhartha enjoys a near-idyllic existence with his best friend. Govinda. Everyone in the village expects Siddhartha to be a successful Brahmin like his father.

The Search for Spiritual Enlightenment In Siddhartha. In Siddhartha’s case. Siddhartha and Govinda differ in what they’re willing to do in search for this truth. This realization itself comes from within. His father and the other elders have still not achieved enlightenment. and start with the conviction that finding Nirvana is possible. These sources also fail to teach him wisdom. In his quest. His final success. When these external spiritual sources fail to bring him the knowledge and guidance he needs. when he becomes suspicious that one path may lead to a dead end. and Buddhists. Instead. and Symbols Themes Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work. and in the end. Exterior Guidance In Siddhartha. Vasudeva is a teacher of sorts for Siddhartha. again using an external source in his quest. Motifs. The Wisdom of Indirection . Though interior and exterior paths to enlightenment are both explored in Siddhartha. Although Nirvana leads to a perfect relationship with the world and is thus an end goal that each man aspires to reach. Vasudeva directs Siddhartha to listen to the river and search within himself for an understanding of what the river says. does not come as explicit directions from Siddhartha on how to achieve enlightenment. and the material world because he feels dissatisfied. Govinda. Themes. on the other hand. an unrelenting search for truth is essential for achieving a harmonious relationship with the world. persists in looking to teachers for his wisdom. he feels something is missing. he quickly alters his course. to leave the Samanas for Gotama. the Samanas. but when Siddhartha reveals what the river has told him. which he finds contains the entire universe. however. Siddhartha and Govinda both have a fundamental desire to understand their lives through spirituality. but Vasudeva never attempts to tell Siddhartha what the meaning of life is. Siddhartha leaves the Brahmins. asks Siddhartha to teach him the path to enlightenment. but he longs for something more. Siddhartha learns that enlightenment cannot be reached through teachers because it cannot be taught— enlightenment comes from within. Vasudeva simply acknowledges that he too has received the same wisdom. Govinda is much less flexible in his quest for spiritual enlightenment. the river reveals the complexity of existence through sound and image. Siddhartha believes his father has already passed on all the wisdom their community has to offer. and thus an external guide. Instead. Nonetheless. This distinction between Siddhartha’s unrelenting search and Govinda’s limited search is the reason why Govinda can attain enlightenment only through an act of grace on Siddhartha’s part. Although Siddhartha is willing to break with religion itself and to abandon all his training. and he knows he must now find wisdom on his own. since he is limited by his belief that truth will appear in the way he has been taught by his teachers. or Nirvana. Govinda is unable to see the truth around him. and Siddhartha meditates on these revelations in order to gain an understanding of them. Govinda’s final revelation thus comes through his own interpretation of what Siddhartha shows him in the kiss. He does not relent in his search and instead continues to follow whatever path becomes available if he has clearly not yet reached Nirvana. Gotama. and then to make a radical departure from spiritual teachers and search in the material world with Kamala and Kamaswami. he restricts himself to the spiritual and religious world and persists in his need for teachers. The truth for which Siddhartha and Govinda search is a universal understanding of life. He asks Govinda to kiss his forehead. and he does what religion says should bring him happiness and peace. Samanas. Vasudeva does not tell Siddhartha what the river will say.performs all the rituals of religion. Nirvana comes from within. He is willing to abandon the path of the Brahmins for the path of the Samanas. the exterior path is roundly rejected. as the river did for him. Inner vs. The river itself never actually tells Siddhartha what its revelations mean. whereas Siddhartha is able to find truth through his own powers. Instead. he discards them for Kamala and Kamaswami in the material world. His eventual attainment of Nirvana does not come from someone imparting the wisdom to him but instead through an internal connection to the river. an act that enables Govinda to see the nature of existence in an instant. Govinda is willing to seek truth only as long as it appears within the narrow confines of Hinduism or Buddhism and is transmitted by a respected teacher. Siddhartha begins looking for enlightenment initially by looking for external guidance from organized religion in the form of Brahmins. Because of this reliance on an external explanation. seek to do this by reaching Nirvana. Govinda continuously fails to find Nirvana. As a result. not because an external source tells him to go. Siddhartha acts as a conduit for Govinda. and he feels that staying with them will not settle the questions he has about the nature of his existence.

and time itself is meaningless. and the river itself represents the ideal union of them. Siddhartha points out that by focusing only on the goal of Nirvana. instead. and Siddhartha must accept love. The many ways love appears and the difficulties love poses are vital to the eventual success of Siddhartha’s quest. However. that all is living and dead at the same moment. The Brahmins. each time sparking a change within him. but Siddhartha eventually rejects these methods and instead relies on intuition for guidance. or Maya.Throughout the novel. as well as the importance of love itself. but their lives do not reflect the enlightenment that comes from fully embracing the energy of Om. He realizes that though he has been taught what Om should mean. the unity of polarities. Samanas. Through Kamala and his son he has learned to love the world and accept it. but Siddhartha rejects this love because it is part of teachings that do not lead him to enlightenment. Siddhartha finally feels love. if he is to achieve Nirvana. which signifies the oneness and unity of all things. He hears Om again when he stands near the river contemplating suicide. Siddhartha pursues Nirvana differently. In the second third of the book. but in these. Motifs Motifs are recurring structures. in its entirety. and that all possibilities are united in the spirit of the universe. the more aware he becomes of the complexity of Om and how it involves not only the physical and spiritual world but also time itself. Siddhartha rejects the spiritual world and enters the material world. the more he listens to the river. Love first appears between Siddhartha and his father. that distracts a seeker from the spiritual truth. He achieves transcendence when he can accept that all is false and true at the same time. Siddhartha’s ability to finally comprehend Om is his entrance into enlightenment. yet at the same time he can transcend it. Govinda tries too hard. At the end of the novel. contrasts. and the love he feels for his son becomes a test of this wisdom. or literary devices that can help to develop and inform the text’s major themes. a love Siddhartha rejects when he leaves his father to follow the Samanas. he must learn to just “be. and he must abandon it. Essentially. Siddhartha finds that enlightenment does not come from mastering either the material or spiritual world but from finding the common ground between these polarities of existence. none of those around him have fully achieved an understanding of it in their own lives. In effect. painful as it might be. Realizing that life itself is indestructible. Love. Govinda failed to notice the tiny clues along the way that would have pointed him in the right direction. Siddhartha completely denies his body and. An indirect approach is more likely to take into account all elements of the world and is therefore better able to provide the necessary distance from which to see the unity of the world. marks key moments of awakening for Siddhartha. In the first third of the book. . or colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts. which he recognizes as being all around him. it threatens to divert Siddhartha from his course. Enlightenment cannot exist without love. such as time/timelessness and attachment/detachment. rather than continuously search for a philosophy that accesses it on an intellectual basis. but since love is an attachment to the world. He first encounters Om in his training as a Brahmin. too. he eventually finds that a more indirect approach yields greater rewards. but relentlessly pursuing carnal desire does not lead him to wisdom either. Both Siddhartha and Govinda initially seek Nirvana aggressively and directly. He has removed himself from the world so thoroughly that he is not motivated by what the world has to offer him. restricts Siddhartha’s ability to realize spiritual wisdom.” not try to force his life along specific paths. Siddhartha rejects the material world. characters. and Buddhists all maintain that the material world is illusion. Siddhartha ultimately understands that because the essence of enlightenment already exists within us and is present in the world at every moment. Om The concept of Om. he finds that embracing one and rejecting the other does not lead to enlightenment. People who chant the word and understand the concept intellectually surround him. Siddhartha battles with other polar opposites as well. In the Buddha. prescriptive paths simply lead us further from ourselves and from the wisdom we seek. Until now. but along the way he encounters the idea a number of times. at this stage. he is trying to merge with Om. Siddhartha sees love in action. Siddhartha is incapable of giving and receiving genuine love at this stage. Siddhartha has gained wisdom in the absence of love. The river suggests this battle visually: the opposing banks represent the polarities. and though at first his tactics are aggressive and deliberate.. Govinda remains dedicated to the relentless practice of Buddhist devotions that are specifically intended to bring about enlightenment. Love The role of love in Siddhartha’s life changes throughout his search for enlightenment. When he finally comprehends the word in its entirety and understands that all things exist at the same moment. not resist it. Siddhartha is a part of the world. Symbols Symbols are objects. focuses his efforts on refining his mind and memorizing the knowledge his teachers pass along to him. Siddhartha finds enlightenment only when he understands Om. With his son. figures. Polarities In Siddhartha. Adopting this belief. primarily in the form of compassion. he finally achieves enlightenment. all possibilities are real and valid. Kamala teaches Siddhartha the physical aspects of love.

and the path to enlightenment. and the smile evokes their spiritual perfection and harmony. Realizing that the ways of the Samana only allowed temporary relief. Gotama responds with a smile. since enlightenment cannot be faked or forced. where I want to know everything. causing him to be discontent and instigate his pilgrimage. and the vessel was not full…” (Page 5) This shows that Siddhartha had an insatiable appetite for knowledge. indicating the balance of an enlightened soul. yet Siddhartha was unsatisfied. but the river itself is Siddhartha’s final instructor. as well as the fact that its water perpetually returns. only the ferrymen are able to help others find enlightenment. and the flow of the river. Vasudeva is not a teacher who will simply tell Siddhartha what he should know. Siddhartha wants only to cross the river. and Siddhartha’s reward for studying it is an intuitive understanding of its divine essence. and this smile. The first time Vasudeva meets Siddhartha. Years later. I would like to travel all over the world. but a guide who will lead him where he wishes to go. As a representation of life. and Vasudeva guides him in his attempts to hear what the river has to say. shows Siddhartha how to find enlightenment within himself. but each fails to lead Siddhartha to enlightenment. which is not possible considering knowledge is limitless. Siddhartha searches for knowledge from the river itself. Even when Siddhartha argues with him. it provides knowledge without words. The smile evokes Gotama’s saintliness and peace. At an early age he knew everything the Brahmins could teach him. in part. Siddhartha . and that is all Vasudeva helps him do. Siddhartha himself does not exhibit a smile until he has achieved his own enlightenment. suggesting that enlightenment is communicated without words. and those who seek enlightenment and are open to guidance will find what they need within the ferryman. Siddhartha moved on to learn from the Illustrious One. had already passed on to him the bulk and best of their wisdom. The ferryman points Siddhartha in the right direction. as stated in the novel “He had begun to suspect that his worthy and father and his other teacher. The river’s many sounds suggest the sounds of all living things. The Ferryman In Siddhartha. With this in mind. that they had already poured the sum total of their knowledge into his waiting vessel. yet it does not hinder me from trying. I too at time feel like Siddhartha. and finally conquer his Self. Only after going through the requisite stages leading to enlightenment can one express the beatific smile.The River The river in Siddhartha represents life itself. I want to master every topic in the world. The ferryman. and it impresses Siddhartha. however. the smile marks Vasudeva as an enlightened soul. Many teachers of wisdom appear during Siddhartha’s search. The Smile The only characters in Siddhartha who smile are those who have achieved enlightenment. Smiles are scarce among the Hindus and Samanas and in the material world. Vasudeva often smiles rather than talks. He guides people back and forth across the river and eventually helps Govinda find enlightenment. rumored to have freed himself from the cycle of reincarnation and on the road to salvation. Soon after a long discussion with Buddha. Siddhartha himself becomes a ferryman after he reaches enlightenment. Similarly. enables Govinda to realize that Siddhartha is like Gotama. Siddhartha first sees the smile in Gotama. suggests the nature of time. In Siddhartha. and he too impresses Siddhartha with his peaceful state. The ferryman is positioned between ordinary world and enlightenment. experience new cultures and ideas in order to seek perfection. yet Siddhartha did not join the Gotama because Siddhartha was still thirsty for knowledge and to fully conquer his Self. time. Siddhartha with the permission of his father left to be a Samana because Siddhartha felt these wandering ascetics who would practice self-denial and meditation in hope to become empty to any emotion or physical feeling. the wise Brahmins. the ferryman is a guide for both the river and the path to enlightenment.

Siddhartha learned the art of love making and with the help of Kamaswami. Om. Siddhartha was able to learn from the river of Om. Siddhartha wanted to end his life. Siddhartha remained humble and kind later “ The world caught him. In his attempts to charming fair Kamala. and much more. Siddhartha learned the business of merchants and became rich. with a clear conscious guiding me to perfection. and with the help of the ferryman. he once again started his pilgrimage. pleasures. “People like us cannot love. Siddhartha learned nothing actually existed. in the river that awaits at this feet. I agree with this philosophy. Then he heard. he heard. Siddhartha felt to sleep and reawakened. Vasudeva. everything was empty. In his early stage. when I make a mistake in my life and I want to let go of the regret buried in my heart. only if like Siddhartha I could reawaken. for Kamala had .that is their secret. waiting.” (Page 42) This shows that Siddhartha finally awakened. With the help of Kamala. that there was no such thing as time. no longer homewards. Siddartha grew to love the river. idleness.”(73) On her way to see the dying Buddha. he had overcome childhood and officially became a man. All experiences. This time around. This is how I feel. Kamala had delivered to Siddhartha as destiny permitted. Suddenly his body seized. thus I have not reached the level of maturity as Siddhartha. if one can live a restrained life then in the real world to come after our death we shall live in infinite luxury. yet at times I am happy that they are still with me because I do need guidance. impatiently. and soon he fled these vices. no longer looking backwards. nothing here is real. perfection. he gambled.went to the woods alone and saw the beautiful world around him as he questioned his existence. Siddhartha the wanderer stumbled upon a town began his adventure as a lover and merchant. I too can relate to Siddhartha because ever since I became a teenager I feel as if I do not need my parents. as a Muslim I belief this world is a test.” In other words. Ordinary people can. no longer to his father. not realizing how he could go on. he was influenced to become a merchant and make money and dress appropriately in order to win Kamala’s heart. whether it is good or bad is essential for the growth of one’s character. covetousness. he fled the pleasures of love-making. and fasting. considering he lost his skills of thinking. and finally also that vice that he had always despised and scorned as the most foolishacquisitiveness. no longer a child in need of guidance but a independent man. a beautiful courtesan. he lost control of his feelings. Siddhartha lived a materialistic lifestyles. Siddhartha “moved on again and began to walk quickly. he became weary. this time leaving his past behind him. and there is a lot for me to learn.

Siddhartha. Siddhartha automatically fell in love with his son as if thread magically tied together the father and son’s heart. Siddhartha moved on.passed away not being able to see the Illustrious One but someone just as great and holy. the son did not feel the same. reaching Om. Siddhartha let go. it holds inside it emptiness to be replaced with an essential element allowing it to help others around it to function. . not wanting to live the life of his father. despite the pain in his heart. perfection. just as everything happens for a reason. Sadly. because everything has a reason for existence. whether it a stone or animal. this was the last of emotion Siddhartha was to uncover and he did. the son lived in luxury and hoped to go back.it is everything. began Siddhartha fatherhood. Full filling his life. Siddhartha became the holy on.though a short period of time in knowing the boy. From a young age a formidable boy who opposed doctrines till an aged wise man. I have learned to respect everything. After much thought. Thus. this was. the cycle of life. when Govinda his best friend came to him for advice only one thing was left to share. From this. This knowledge was. a hollow space.