The Maturation of Siddhartha

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The Maturation of Siddhartha

Siddhartha, by Herman Hesse is the story of a young Indian noble

who ventures off in the world to find an understanding of the meaning of

life. His journey begins as a young Brahmin who yearned to unwind the

complexities of his existence. He ends as an old sage who has found peace

within himself and his surroundings. Throughout the book, Hesse allows the

reader to trace Siddhartha's maturation process both through his

experiences, and people with whom he comes in contact. During his journey,

he makes a number of choices, "turns", that put him on a path of his

maturation which is marked by self discovery and independence.

Siddhartha's maturation is developed by three key events: his meeting with

Buddha, his attempted suicide, and the arrival/departure of his son, as

they all contribute to his self discovery and individuality.

Siddhartha's meeting with Gautama, the Buddha, is the first key

experience that contributes to his maturation process. After several years

of living the ascetic life of a Samana, Siddhartha decides to seek out

Gautama, "The Illustrious One," as a possible source of assistance in his

journey to find his inner self. After their meeting, however, Siddhartha

becomes more convinced that the Buddha's methods satisfy his logical and

tangible needs, but will not bring him any closer to realizing his

spiritual and metaphysical needs. The theme of maturity presents itself in

Siddhartha's conclusion that if he is to achieve an immaterial balance, it

must be on his own. He understands that the Buddha had a remarkable

experience, but it is a personal one. Siddhartha sees that his development

process relies on his forging his own experiences, and his attainment of

self realization can only be made by himself, regardless of what knowledge

Gautama may impart to him.

The second experience that puts Siddhartha on a path to maturity is

his attempted suicide. Preceding this incident, Siddhartha made a complete

turnaround and decided to explore his worldly needs and lives the life of a

lover, merchant, and gambler. As a student of lust under Kamala and money

under Kamaswami, the protagonist becomes self centered, greedy, and no

longer one who can "think, fast, and write." His time in the village is

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