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

Foreshadowing Siddhartha’s sloughing-off of his father’s traditional Brahmin beliefs foreshadows Siddhartha’s future loss of his own son.

 Siddhartha’s observation to Govinda that not even the eldest of the Samanas has attained Nirvana, and Govinda’s subsequent dismissal of the statement, foreshadows Govinda’s inability to find Nirvana by following the teachings of others.

 · The first appearance of the peaceful ferryman, whom Siddhartha encounters on his way to the city, foreshadows Siddhartha’s own future as a ferryman and as a man of total spiritual peace.