Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

Posted April 13th, 2011 by August

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summary: Like any teenager, Siddhartha is searching for his calling, seeking wisdom, and learning every step of the way. The book takes place in ancient India around the same time as the Buddha and is a parrallel between Siddhartha Gotama, the Buddha, and the main character Siddhartha. Along Siddhartha’s journey he goes through the extremes from living life in asceticism in the forest to living a life in riches. But, along both of these, he is still unhappy and searches for wisdom and enlightenment.

review:  My world religions class just finished reading this book during our studies of Buddhism. At first, I thought that Siddhartha was a knowledge obsessed jerk. He is practically worshiped by his friend Govinda, and Siddhartha always talks down to him such as, I did not think Govinda capable of going his own path.  I loved the character Govinda and felt so bad for him and I wish that the story followed his journey a little more instead of Siddhartha’s. Siddhartha kind of reminds me of some cocky popular kid who’s really talented at everything but kind of crude to others. I also really liked Gotama in the book because while Siddhartha was pretty much criticizing his teachings, he was calm and put Siddhartha in his place. But, Siddhartha was still one unhappy teenager. After, Siddhartha gets bored with the life of asceticism in the forest he decides to live with the townspeople. There he meets the prostitute, Kamala, who teaches Siddhartha the art of love. I kind of felt bad for Kamala because Siddhartha was never really attached to her because life was just a game to him.

But as the story progressed, I did start to respect Siddhartha because he finally abandoned the obsession with knowledge and was just content and pretty normal. He became more and more Buddhist and wise. I really liked how this book is set long ago but can still relate to any person in some way or another. Siddhartha’s questions of religion and meaningfulness I have myself. It is hard to deal with the fact that there are questions that one has that cannot be answered such as, is there really a deity and if there is, do they age and suffer too? My class and I really enjoyed the book. It was not the most interesting book in the world but is still a good, short read that is timeless and universal.

August

Hi I'm a highschooler who is new to the whole blogging atmosphere, but I thought I would give it a try. I enjoy to read classics such as the Iliad and the Odyssey because they are intellectually stimulating but interesting as well. In addition to the classics, I enjoy reading both non-fiction and fiction, but not really fantasy. Other hobbies that I have are playing piano, guitar, and doing martial arts.

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