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"The Importance of Surroundings in Siddhartha by Herman Hesse and The Stranger by Albert Camus." 123HelpMe.com. 11 Nov 2019
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- Hermann Hesse and Albert Camus were both talented authors whose works have greatly influenced the world of literature. Hesse’s Siddhartha and Camus’ The Stranger have impacted readers for decades. These novels centralize around a common principle of finding inner truth. The main characters, Siddhartha and Meursault, have very different ideologies by which they live their lives. These opposing perspectives greatly influence their individual decisions and the people around them. The style in which each of these novels is written exemplifies these differences between Siddhartha and Meursault.... [tags: Hermann Hesse, Albert Camus]
1014 words (2.9 pages)
- The concept of Buddhism is focused upon a reflection of one’s self in the universe. Buddhists believe that there are an infinite amount of paths leading to enlightenment. Siddhartha Gautama, the main protagonist in Hermann Hesse’s novel, Siddhartha, is characterized as searching for Nirvana. The desire of finding oneness with the universe is reflected in his journey. Siddhartha seeks enlightenment through other people and the areas surrounding him such as Kamala, his son, Vasudeva, and the river.... [tags: Gautama Buddha, Buddhism, Hermann Hesse]
1159 words (3.3 pages)
- In The Stranger, Camus portrays women as unnecessary beings created purely to serve materialistically and satisfy males through the lack of a deep, meaningful, relationship between Meursault and females. Throughout the text, the main character, Meursault, creates closer, more meaningful relationships with other minor characters in the story. However, in his interactions with females in this book, Meursault’s thoughts and actions center on himself and his physical desires, observations, and feelings, rather than devoting his attention to the actual female.... [tags: Camus, The Stranger]
917 words (2.6 pages)
- The Stranger, by Albert Camus, is the story of Meursault, a man who cares not for the future, nor the past. He lives without meaning, without rationality, without emotions. On one fateful day at the beach, Meursault shoots and kills an Arab, leading to a chain of events that causes his death. Throughout the judicial process, Albert Camus criticizes the society he lives in and the values it holds. The Stranger is the definitive work on Camus' own thoughts, and the basis of title as the Professor of the Absurd.... [tags: Albert Camus]
1540 words (4.4 pages)
- “Between my straw mattress and the bed planks, I had actually found an old scrap of newspaper, yellow and transparent, half-stuck to the canvas. On it was a news story, the first part of which was missing, but which must have taken place in Czechoslovakia. A man had left a Czech village to seek his fortune. Twenty-five years later, and now rich, he had returned with a wife and a child. His mother was running a hotel with his sister in the village where he’d been born. In order to surprise them, he had left his wife and child at another hotel and gone to see his mother, who didn’t recognize him when he walked in.... [tags: The Stranger, Albert Camus]
1096 words (3.1 pages)
- Inexperienced Minds in The Plague The town itself, let us admit, is ugly. These are the words of Dr. Bernard Rieux, the narrator of Albert Camus The Plague. His accurate, unexaggerated descriptions of a town’s sufferings, bring the novel to life. The town of Oran becomes afflicted with a plague, and Rieux, the town doctor, watches the town quickly die away. He joins forces with Jean Tarrou, Raymond Rambert, Joseph Grand, and Father Paneloux, hoping to defeat the unbeatable enemy. The quarantined town ultimately defeats the disease, but not before incredible losses are suffered.... [tags: Albert Camus Plague Essays]
1930 words (5.5 pages)
- 'For ages, the river has been a sign of eternity and has served as a symbol of spiritual awareness to many people'(Rahula 39). The river in Siddhartha, by Hermann Hesse, is an important symbol. Hesse provides many references to the river throughout his novel, and it serves many purposes in his writing. Siddhartha who is the main character, grows up with his father and mother on a riverbank, in India. He decides to leave the world of the Brahmins to seek his own way. Govinda, Siddhartha's companion, follows him to the world of the Samanas.... [tags: Hesse Siddhartha Essays ]
1359 words (3.9 pages)
- Existentialism and The Plague In the mid 1940s, a man by the name of Albert Camus began to write a story. This story he called La Pesté. Written in French, the novel became extremely popular and has since been translated numerous times into many languages. This story has been read over and over, yet it tells more than it seems to. This story tells the tale of a city gripped by a deadly disease. This is true enough, but this is not what the novel is about. The Plague can be read as an allegory of World War II, of the French Resistance against German Occupation.... [tags: Albert Camus Plague Essays]
3953 words (11.3 pages)
- Hesse's Siddhartha as it Parallels Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Several parallels can be drawn between the psychologist Abraham Maslow's theoretical hierarchy of needs and the spiritual journey of Siddhartha, the eponymous main character in Herman Hesse's novel. Maslow's hierarchy of needs is somewhat of a pyramid that is divided into eight stages of need through which one progresses throughout one's entire life. During the course of his lifetime, Siddhartha's personality develops in a manner congruent with the stages of Maslow's hierarchy. Siddhartha's progress from each of the major sections of the hierarchy is marked by a sharp change in his life or behavior.... [tags: Hesse Siddhartha Essays]
1807 words (5.2 pages)
- The Path to Understanding in Demian In Hermann Hesse's, "Demian," Emil Sinclair develops into a self-cognizant man after experiencing true friendship and the purity of life. Immaturity and innocence surrounds him as a child until a confidant by the name of Max Demian places him on the path to understanding himself. After opening his eyes to the feebleness of life, the boy realizes his true purpose of existence. Beginning life in the "realm of light," (7) Sinclair passes through life being criticized and labeled an outcast.... [tags: Herman Hesse Demian]
1332 words (3.8 pages)
As the definition of Tabula Rasa states, changing location and environment adjusts a person’s outlook on life (Landry). In Siddhartha the protagonist, Siddhartha, is in search of happiness, which causes his continuously varying surroundings to change who he is. Siddhartha's change in location is due to the love from his family and his desire of happiness while in search of his goal. But Siddhartha does not bring joy to himself, he does not delight himself. Walking along the rosy paths of the fig orchard…with perfect breeding of his gestures, loved by all, a joy to all, he nevertheless bore no joy in his heart…He had started feeling that his father’s love, and his mother’s love, and also his friend Govinda’s love would not make him happy forever and always, not please him, gratify him, satisfy him” (Hesse 4-5). Siddhartha’s happiness is nearly nonexistent early in the book. He does not feel fulfilled from the love of the people he cares for, which had satisfied him in the past. His decision to move away from his village is made because of his search for the higher goal of self-discovery. “Although generously endowed with intelligence, good looks, a winning personality, and all other requirements for what would normally be considered a successful life, Siddhartha is not content. He is conscious of a discrepancy between conventional assumptions and personal satisfaction… (Butler 1-2). His search for himself drives him away from his village as well. However, in the end, it is the journey itself that will motivate Siddhartha to continue rather than the final product. Siddhartha’s discontent is easily noticed and the reasons are obvious. In contrast, The Stranger’s Meursault’s search for happiness and change in location is a defining factor of who he is and the way his character develops. Meursault finds his content with what he is accustomed to and does not want to move away. Meursault is offered a job by his boss to work in Paris. Meursault is not “dissatisfied with his life here at all” and “wasn’t unhappy” as his life is now (Camus 41). His indifference and feelings of happiness and love of where his life currently is causes him to want to stay home and not change. “He also declines the opportunity of going to Paris. Not to have any professional ambition is an affront to modern society” (Feuerlicht 2). This passage shows how he is happy where is with no desire to move on to something different. Due to his relative happiness of where he is, Meursault does not need to change location to define who he is. The fact that he does not move is what makes him the man he becomes. Also, his love or lack of love towards Marie shows how he is happy with how his life is and, therefore, he does not want to be changed. Siddhartha and Meursault are changed due to their surroundings and search of happiness, though their ideas of happiness are much different.
Further adding to the theory of Tabula Rasa is the idea that human contact and how the influence of others can change who a person becomes. Siddhartha comes in contact with many different people throughout the novel. While on his quest for something, he cannot find who will give him love, experience and a feeling of dependence. As he moves from place to place, he meets a courtesan, Kamala, and falls in love with her. He “makes a resolve” and follows through with it to love her and be with her (Hesse 56). He subconsciously gains much experience from her and her ways. This experience brings about his love for her, though it is most likely love of their physical relationship and not a true love. He becomes dependent of her love and gives up all of his internal progress that he had been striving for previously in the novel to be with her and their physical relationship. “For the first time in many years he really looks about him and perceives the beauty of the world. The world about him, from which he had fled, he now finds attractive and good. He must not seek to escape life but face it, live it (Malthaner 4). Siddhartha’s new outlook on life is made by the influence of the people he comes in contact with, such as Kamala. His love, experience, and dependence on others have made Siddhartha who he is. Similarly, Meursault is changed by his relationships with others, such as Marie. However, rather than show dependence, Meursault displays independence from others. By not being dependent on others, he is changed by his surroundings differently than Siddhartha. Marie asks Meursault if he will marry her and he says that it “didn’t make any difference to me.” She then asks if he loves her and he says it doesn’t matter but “he probably doesn’t” (Camus 41). This passage shows how he likes her to be around, but he can get along alone if he needs to do so. His independence of others demonstrates how he does not need to be loved or have friends, though he would generally prefer both. These traits of human contact make him who he is and how he takes on life. For both Siddhartha and Meursault, experiences of human influence have changed who they are, though in different respects.
Finally, the third characteristic of Tabula Rasa that can change who someone becomes is the expectations placed on one by society. Siddhartha is almost completely defined by how everyone perceives him to be, whether it is society, a utopian image, or even his friends. ”…he [Govinda] loved everything that Siddhartha said and did, and most of all he loved his mind, his lofty fiery thoughts, his glowing will, his high calling“ (Hesse 4). Govinda’s love for his friend is expressed in this passage. Furthermore, the passage describes all of Siddhartha’s wonderful qualities as well as his higher position in the eye of society. Govinda recognizes “his [Siddhartha] high calling” from society and realizes that he is special. Siddhartha is perceived as a higher figure in society by society, causing Siddhartha to be pressured into becoming something great. Contrarily, Meursault is the polar opposite of Siddhartha in that he does not feel as if he should conform to what society dictates. “…find themselves among others from the same world. That is how I explained to myself the strange impression I had of being odd man out, a kind of intruder” (Camus 84). Meursault finds it is easiest to deal with society by isolating himself and shutting all the frantic actions of the world out. He tends not to try to fit in and chooses not to expand his knowledge of the outside world. “There can be hardly any doubt, however, that Meursault is a stranger to society…He is…not playing society’s game, because he does not lie, even where and when everybody lies in order to simplify life, and because he rejects time-honored formulas, such as expressing regret after a crime, even when this rejection means the death sentence” (Feuerlicht 2). Due to expectations made by society, both Siddhartha and Meursault are changed by their surroundings, though they change in very different regards.
As Locke says, “No man’s knowledge here can go beyond his experience” (Moncur). Both Siddhartha from Siddhartha and Meursault from The Stranger are made into the characters that they are due to Locke’s Tabula Rasa. The fact that man starts with a “clean slate” and begins knowing nothing is profound, but it can be seen through these two characters. The reader can see that from the many facets that make up each character, they all lead to the central idea of Tabula Rasa. It is quite evident that a person’s surroundings contribute to who a person becomes. Friendship, love, family, dependence or independence, happiness, desire and experience all contribute to the concept of one’s environment and therefore are a part of the cause of who someone becomes. Siddhartha and Meursault alike are morphed into who they are because of their respective settings. Due to these altering situations for each man, they each develop differently, hence making them into dissimilar people. From all of this, it is clear that a man’s surroundings will create who he becomes due to a change in location, human relationships and influence, and experience within society.