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Herman Hesse

Siddhartha Analysis

Literary Devices in Siddhartha

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

The river is a central symbol in Siddhartha, representing unity and the eternity of all things in the universe. At times of great transition in his life, such as when he leaves the Samanas, and lat...


Siddhartha takes place in various small towns, gardens, groves, forests, and along an unnamed river in India at the time of the Buddha, approximately 625 BC. The action takes place over the greater...

Narrator Point of View

Although the novel centers on Siddhartha, we occasionally hear the thoughts of other characters. This third person perspective lends a more distant, descriptive quality to the narration. We, the re...


These three genres come together in Siddhartha as Siddhartha’s life (biography) is devoted to attaining (quest) enlightenment (philosophical literature). Let’s break it down further for...


By writing in a more abstract, distant form, Hesse gives his story a certain amount of gravitas. This makes sense – talking about enlightenment in casual terms does a real disservice to the s...

Writing Style

Hesse writes: "Siddhartha got to know many new things, he heard a lot and spoke little. And thinking of Kamala's words, he was never subservient to the merchant, forced him to treat him as an equal...

What’s Up With the Title?

Siddhartha is the name of the novel’s protagonist. Just keep in mind that our main character Siddhartha is not intended to be Siddhartha Gautama, popularly known as "Buddha" (as in Buddhism,...

Plot Analysis

Siddhartha wants enlightenment. Oh boy. When the novel opens and a character wants something, you know that this something is probably going to be chased throughout the entire novel. In this case,...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

Siddhartha seeks complete spiritual awakening and doesn’t think he’ll find it in is his hometown. In Siddhartha, the call is internal. Something inside Siddhartha (maybe those mangoes h...

Three Act Plot Analysis

Siddhartha is unfulfilled and seeks greater spiritual fulfillment. Siddhartha lives a life of deprivation with the Samanas, and then lives a life of material and sexual pleasure. After a near suici...


Check out Queen’s 1977 BBC re-take of "We Will Rock You." The recording includes a recitation of a passage from Siddhartha.

Steaminess Rating

Siddhartha has plenty of sex, but by Chapter Seven, he’s sick of it. Although sex is special and transformative in Siddhartha, it’s ultimately unfulfilling – even with a woman who...


The Rig Veda (1.7) The Upanishads (1.9, 1.11)

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