Siddhartha Symbolism Essay

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In Siddhartha, written by Hermann Hesse in 1922, is the story in which a man named Siddhartha spiritually struggles on his path towards enlightenment. After separating himself from a close friend, who made his first choice on his own, Siddhartha is awoken from his current beliefs, and creates new ones. Hesse uses many thoughtful symbols to represent his steps toward enlightenment. Three of his most occurring symbols are the River, the Om, and the Smile, which are all used to connect back to the main theme. This is done so the reader can focus more on the plot of the story, but in the end realize these hidden symbols all lead to Siddhartha’s path to enlightenment. Often times the River is a guide to Siddhartha, and whenever Siddhartha has abandoned someone or something, he returns to the River. Siddhartha tells himself after he is awoken, “I will learn from myself, be my own student” (41). He may think that he is his own teacher, but the River has taught Siddhartha about life, and time. Many of the turning points in Siddhartha’s life have happened at the river, and it isn’t just a coincidence. Hermann Hesse uses the River as the source of life, when Siddhartha is in time of need, “weakened by fatigue and hunger” (87). The River creates a Siddhartha “changed and renewed… remarkably well rested, alert, cheerful, and inquisitive.” (90). When…show more content…
Through the help of ‘the river’ and om, one is granted enlightenment, but also spiritual awakening. But why not just say Siddhartha is finally awoken? Hermann Hesse uses the smile to show the reader that someone is spiritually awoken, but also uses it to hide the main theme. Spiritual awakening comes in many forms, for example Gotama’s “half smile” (37), Om which awakened Siddhartha’s “slumbering mind” (88), or a doze by the river. All these symbols connect, all to the final achievement which Siddhartha desired. They all lead back to his path towards

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