Essay on The Use of Nature in Siddhartha and A Doll’s House

Essay on The Use of Nature in Siddhartha and A Doll’s House

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The Use of Nature in Siddhartha and A Doll’s House

Herman Hesse and Henrik Ibsen make extensive references to and use of nature in their respective masterpieces, Siddhartha and A Doll’s House. This includes the use of nature as imagery, symbolism, and to create a motif. While the objects in nature do differ because of the location of the stories, there is also overlap.

In Siddhartha Herman Hesse refers to two symbols of nature, birds and water, specifically the river. The first reference to a bird is when Siddhartha decides to leave the Buddha. He realizes that he is going through one of many changes, ceasing to be a Samana but unable to go back to being a Brahmin. In response Siddhartha, “shiver[s] inwardly like a small animal, like a bird or a hare, when he realize[s] how alone he [is].” (Hesse 41) That Hesse specifically mentions a bird is significant, because it begins to establish the motif of a bird as a symbol of Siddhartha’s soul.

The second significant bird reference occurs just before Siddhartha leaves Kamala, his lover. Siddhartha falls into a deep sleep and dreams about Kamala’s household; “Kamala kept a small rare songbird in a small golden cage… This bird, which usually sang in the morning, became mute, and as this surprised him, he went up to the cage and looked inside. The little bird was dead and lay stiff on the floor.” (Hesse 82)

During this time Siddhartha lived as a rich, successful businessman. He gambled, drank and ate rich foods. Because we know that the bird is symbolic of Siddhartha’s soul, we know that the dream is a warning to Siddhartha that his soul will soon die. In it the cage is trapping the bird. Similarly, Siddhartha’s life style is trapping him spiritually. He has been ...


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...a, becoming a close friend to her. Rank is ill, dying from a disease passed on by his father because of his father’s love for rich foods, specifically oysters. These oysters, coming from the river, will be the death of Rank. The sad thing is that this slow death is not Rank’s own doing. Rather, his father has forced it onto him. Similarly, Nora’s own suffocating conditions are not her own doing, but are forced onto her by society.

The book Siddhartha and the play, A Doll’s House both make use of nature in imagery for the purpose of creating a motif. However, the books differentiate in the motifs that they create. Siddhartha concentrates on creating a spiritual motif, while A Doll’s House uses the motif to create a societal picture. The purpose of the former is to show the culture of a far away land, while the latter uses it to craft a message for society.

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