Symbolism In Herman Hesse's Siddhartha

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Personal experience can greatly shape an author’s work. This theory came to play in several of Herman Hesse’s novels. More importantly, through one of his most popular novels, known as, Siddhartha, Hesse takes the reader on a spiritual journey. Siddhartha, who is the main character in this novel goes through numerous adjustments in his life on his spiritual journey. Hence, the concept that Siddhartha’s biggest enemy was himself. Readers can infer, Siddhartha was selfish due to him not being happy with the spiritual knowledge given to him by the Samanas and his father. Instead, he suddenly took on a journey with his friend, Govinda, to find enlightenment and peace within himself. Siddhartha encounters many stages through his journey which teaches…show more content…
The utilization of symbolism show both Siddhartha and Hesse rebellious ways. For example, to some a smile is just a facial expression, however in the novel Siddhartha, a smile represents peace and unity. Moreover, in the novel, Vassudeva, Gotma Budda, and Siddharta soon become recipients’ of the power and symbolic meaning of the smile. These characters, reached the final state of serenity and enlightenment, followed by a smile that depicts self-approval and affinity. In chapter 3 of the novel, Hesse states, “I have never seen anyone gaze and smile like that, sit and stride like that, he thought. Truly, I wish I could gaze and smile, sit and stride like that, so free, so venerable, so concealed, so open, so childlike and mysterious” (Siddhartha – Gotama). In the eyes of Siddhartha, this quote from the text shows his upmost desires of happiness and enlightenment, which he had not yet reached. For this reason, Siddhartha leaves home and searches for the enlightenment that he longs for. Leaving his family and searching for self-fulfillment uncovers Siddhartha and Hesse rebellious manners. Likewise, Siddhartha seems to not remember encountering a Samana smiling, which indicates that they were also not at peace with themselves. Moreover, Samanas believed that one could achieve enlightenment by rejecting…show more content…
This repetition, likewise relates to Hesse’s life. For example, in Siddhartha the word “Om” is repeated constantly throughout the text. Many people hear this word or common sound in yoga. Much like in yoga, the content of the word “Om” represents peace and harmony. The repetition of this word, empathizes Siddhartha’s peace on his journey. “Om” is used by Siddhartha when achieving a part of his long going journey to self-discovery and inner peace. Ironically, the word “Om” could also be empathized and repeated to exhibit the new person Siddhartha becomes on journey through the different stages. Hesse writes, “And when Siddhartha was listening attentively to this river, this song of a thousand voices, when he neither listened to the suffering nor the laughter, when he did not tie his soul to any particular voice and submerged his self into it, but when he heard them all, perceived the whole, the oneness, then the great song of the thousand voices consisted of a single word, which was Om: the perfection” (Siddhartha- Om). In regards to this moment, Hesse is reiterating peace he felt through Siddhartha. The end of the quote states: “the perfection”, which essentially defines the word “Om” and his development in his journey. It can be truly difficult for one to reach the idea of what is known as perfection, but through many trials and
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