full title · Siddhartha
author · Hermann Hesse
type of work · Novel
genre · Spiritual and Religious Novel
language · German
time and place written · 1919–1921, Switzerland
date of first publication · 1922
publisher · Bantam
narrator · An unnamed narrator tracks Siddhartha’s spiritual progress.
point of view · Third-person omniscient. The point of view follows Siddhartha most closely.
tone · Measured without being detached; formal
tense · Past
setting (time) · Concurrent with the life of Buddha, estimated at around 625 b.c.
setting (place) · India
protagonist · Siddhartha
major conflict · Siddhartha searches for total spiritual enlightenment.
rising action · Siddhartha experiments with different teachers and approaches to Nirvana, and when they prove unsatisfactory, he turns his search inward.
climax · Siddhartha finally achieves total spiritual understanding as he sits beside Vasudeva and listens to the river.
falling action · Siddhartha meets Govinda and shares the Nirvana he has attained.
themes · The search for spiritual enlightenment; inner vs. exterior guidance; the wisdom of indirection
motifs · Love; Om; polarities
symbols · The river; the ferryman; the smile
Siddhartha dreamed the bird died in the cage, which symbolizes what will happen to him if he continues his path of samsara. When he leaves, a real bird is released by Kamala. Therefore, the bird represents Siddhartha leaving the prison of samsara and chosing a life outside of the cage, rather than a life of pleasure and comfort inside the cage.
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