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Plot Overview of Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha Essay

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In this novel the protagonist of the story, Siddhartha, believes that the teachings of others will not allow you to reach Nirvana. Therefore, he sets out on a journey to experience the world for himself, the good and the bad, in order to become closer to enlightenment and to eventually become an enlightened one himself, a Buddha. After each experience Siddhartha comes to a new conclusion as his outlook on life changes, as he becomes closer to enlightenment.
In the beginning of the book Siddhartha is already living in one extreme. He has a perfect life and is sheltered from all harm by his father, the Brahmin. He has plenty of food. He is loved and respected by all of the Brahmins. The women of his village all want him. He has everything he could ever want, or so you would think. He has learned all that he feels he could learn from the teachings of the Brahmins, however, his thirst for knowledge is not satiated. One day a group of a ascetics, called Shramanas pass through his town. They believe in attaining Nirvana through the rejection of worldly pleasures. This teaching is different than the way of the Brahmin's. Siddhartha and his friend Govinda, who is like Siddhartha's shadow, both go and join the Shramanas. They relinquish all of their worldly possessions and wander the forests. Siddhartha, after living the life of a Shrama for many years, no longer looks like the young boy he was when he left his father and the Brahmins. After some time, he has become a well respected member of the Shramanas. However, he realizes that though his elders have achieved many things both physically and spiritually, none of them have ever fully attained spiritual enlightenment. He realizes that this path is not the path to Nirvana. He has lear...


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...very beginning that Nirvana could not be attained through the teachings of others so he set out on a journey to experience the world for himself and eventually reaches Nirvana on his own. His friend Govinda, however, is not so bright, and falls victim to the teachings of another. This leads him in a circle that would never have allowed him to reach his goal. Eventually though he escapes this circle and finds himself back with Siddhartha. Siddhartha has attained Nirvana through experiencing everything that life has to offer, the good and the bad. He experienced wealth and poverty. He knew love and he lost love. Last but not least, he learned to listen and learn from his environment. He learned to be content with what he had and not worry himself with what he didn't. This allowed him to be content with his life just as Vasudeva had been. This is how he attained Nirvana.


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