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by Hermann Hesse

Analysis: Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

Christopher Booker is a scholar who wrote that every story falls into one of seven basic plot structures: Overcoming the Monster, Rags to Riches, the Quest, Voyage and Return, Comedy, Tragedy, and Rebirth. Shmoop explores which of these structures fits this story like Cinderella’s slipper.

Plot Type : The Quest

The Call

Siddhartha seeks complete spiritual awakening and doesn’t think he’ll find it in his hometown.

In Siddhartha, the call is internal. Something inside Siddhartha (maybe what he ate for lunch?) is telling him that his current mode of existence is unacceptable and that spiritual awakening needs to be found elsewhere, outside of his hometown.

The Journey

Siddhartha and Govinda join the wandering Samanas for three years.

The two friends wander, which is like going on a journey without having a destination.

Arrival and Frustration

Siddhartha begins a new life, determined to be his own teacher and to achieve wisdom and enlightenment through self-awareness.

After he quits the life of a wandering Samana, Siddhartha experiences a rebirth (in the chapter conveniently entitled "Awakening"), which carries him closer to his goal of enlightenment. However, his new life of sex and money derails his plans and he loses sight of his original objective. Siddhartha is sucked into the greed, lust, and jealousy of the material world. When he finally walks away from the material life, he experiences intense despair and contemplates suicide.

The Final Ordeals

Siddhartha must learn to listen to the river and come to terms with his son’s departure.

Although he is well-poised to achieve enlightenment, Siddhartha must listen to the river’s teachings and internalize them. Additionally, he must reconcile his profound love for his son and his belief in life’s transience. These obstacles to enlightenment are the most difficult to overcome.

The Goal

Siddhartha attains enlightenment.

With the help of Vasudeva, Siddhartha realizes that all voices are one—that everything in the universe is connected. Not only does he realize this, but he deeply internalizes it and thus attains enlightenment.

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