by Herman Hesse
Siddhartha Theme of Time
For some characters in Siddhartha, time doesn’t exist. After listening to the river, Siddhartha’s biggest insight is that time is an illusion, and that life is not a continuum of events, but instead omnipresent. Eternity springs from the world’s unity. Understanding the past and the future as part of the present is a major component of achieving enlightenment.
Questions About Time
- Stylistically, how is the passage of time communicated in Siddhartha? We’re not given any years or dates. Is it effective?
- Is there a relationship between time and enlightenment? If so, describe it.
Chew on This
Govinda’s sense of spiritual urgency and desperation in the last chapter of the novel results from his limited understanding of time.