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by Hermann Hesse

Kamala Timeline and Summary

  • Kamala rides into the front gate of her home on the outskirts of a town followed by an entourage of servants. She makes eye contact and nods at a dusty Samana standing near her gate.
  • The following day, Kamala sees the same man outside her gate. Later that afternoon he calls on her. She learns his name is Siddhartha. He is still poorly clothed but has bathed, cleaned up, and oiled his hair.
  • Siddhartha asks Kamala to instruct him in the art of love. Kamala tells him that he must have money, clothes, and shoes first.
  • Siddhartha composes a beautiful poem for Kamala; she rewards him with a kiss.
  • The next day, Kamala tells Siddhartha that she has set up a job interview for him. She gives him some advice on how to behave in the business world.
  • After Siddhartha becomes a successful businessman, Kamala instructs him daily. The two feel a bond, which, if not love, is a strong emotional appreciation for one another.
  • Kamala and Siddhartha talk about their separation from ordinary life. Kamala thinks that the two of them cannot experience love in the same way other people can.
  • After Siddhartha disappears, Kamala discovers she is pregnant with Siddhartha’s child.
  • Kamala is not surprised by Siddhartha’s disappearance. She knows he is a wandering Samana at heart. As a symbol of his reclaiming his spirituality, Kamala releases her songbird.
  • Kamala travels with her son, who is now eleven, to see Gotama before he dies of a grave illness. We learn that since Siddhartha’s disappearance, Kamala has become affiliated with Gotama’s monks and has donated her garden to them.
  • By the river, a snake bites Kamala. Vasudeva finds her and carries her to his hut.
  • Kamala lies in Siddhartha’s arms and recognizes his transformation. She, too, is peaceful and transformed.
  • She dies.