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by Hermann Hesse

Children and Childishness

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Won't Somebody Think of the Children?

Kiddos are either a) really great or b) really horrible in the world of this book. And no, it's not because one minute they're laughing at you crinkling up aluminum foil (aww!) and the next they're projectile-vomiting all over your new shirt (eww!).

Children appear frequently in Siddhartha, often in comparison to awakened or enlightened individuals. Children can symbolize clarity of perception, simplicity, and wonder. But they're also associated with absorption in the material world of passion and suffering. Siddhartha is once described as "[seeing] people live in a childish or animal-like way which he both loved and despised" (5.37).

Yup: children are associated with both the best and the worst of human tendencies—probably because they're actually just teensy little adults who really love Dr. Seuss

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