Quote 1

“Siddhartha,” he said, “why are you waiting?”
“You know why.”
“Will you go on standing and waiting until it is day, noon, evening?”
“I will stand and wait.”
“You will grow tired, Siddhartha.”
“I will grow tired.”
“You will fall asleep, Siddhartha.”
“I will not fall asleep.”
“You will die, Siddhartha.”
“I will die.”

In this section from the opening chapter “The Brahmin’s Son,” Siddhartha engages in a loaded dialogue with his father. Siddhartha is a spiritual pilgrim, and though it is clear he earnestly desires to seek truth and transcendent knowledge, Hesse does not yet reveal the full extent of his convictions. Siddhartha has met the wandering Samanas, and he is entranced by the possibilities of adopting the Samanas’ ascetic lifestyle. In this dialogue with his father, Siddhartha makes clear for the first time just how solid his convictions are and how deeply he feels he must search for spiritual fulfillment. Siddhartha’s father strongly disagrees with Siddhartha’s decision to join the Samanas, since Siddhartha will be leaving not only his family but also his religion. Leaving his religion is an additional slap in Siddhartha’s father’s face, because Siddhartha’s father is in effect a religious leader. Here, Siddhartha confronts his father with total conviction. This conviction will appear again later, when Siddhartha’s own son decides to leave his life as a ferryman and return to the city of his birth.