Siddhartha

by: Hermann Hesse

Suggested Essay Topics

1. Discuss the role of the mystic utteranceOm in Siddhartha. In what ways does it foreshadow Siddhartha’s spiritual progression? Is his relationship with it proactive, or reactive?

2. Herman Hesse’s novels before Siddhartha focused on alienated young men who rejected the cultures of their upbringings. However, these other novels did not feature the spiritual elements of Siddhartha. How do the spiritual elements of Siddhartha make it different from any other story of an alienated youth?

3. Siddhartha is a love story in addition to the story of a spiritual quest. How do Siddhartha’s romantic love for Kamala and his love for his son impact his spirituality? How does Siddhartha’s spirituality, in turn, impact Kamala and his son?

4. Most literary scholars agree that Siddhartha was prompted by Herman Hesse’s fixation on Eastern spirituality. Is there a case to be made that Siddhartha is designed to celebrate Eastern religion? Is Hesse’s treatment of spirituality as relevant today as it was when he wrote the novel?

5. Siddhartha concerns the quest for spiritual enlightenment, and by the end of it four characters have achieved this goal: Govinda, Gotama, Vasudeva, and Siddhartha. Is the enlightenment achieved by each of these characters the same? Why or why not? What distinctions and similarities exist between the paths these characters use to reach their final goal?