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Overcoming Misfortunes in Siddhartha
On page 132 we read "Everything that was not suffered to the end and
finally concluded, recurred, and the same sorrows were undergone." What does
this mean in regards to Siddhartha and any other of the characters in Hesse's
story? Do you agree with this statement? Explain.
This quote is taken from the context of when Siddhartha is crossing the
river and he sees his reflection and it looks like his father. This quote refers
to a repeating of events. It is illustrated by Brahmin being separated from
Siddhartha and Siddhartha being separated from his own son. This parallels the
quote in three ways. Taken literally it identifies the "father-like-son" aspect
of the situation. It can be taken as a metaphor for the endlessness of time as
well. Taken out of context, this quote identifies that anything that is not
followed or completely worked through will continue to exist and it will repeat
Siddhartha left his father, Brahmin, at a young age to join the ascetics.
Siddhartha is now considering the pain his father must have gone through not
seeing his son again. Siddhartha's son, too, was separated from his father.
Without dealing with this situation, the distance between father and son would
never be reconciled. Thus the situation Siddhartha had with Brahmin would be
The quote can also be interpreted as a metaphor for time. Obvious
recurrences can be noted in time, suggesting that time repeats itself. Instead
of a river, another symbol can be used for time, perhaps a pool. According to
this quote, things repeat themselves in time. In a pool objects float around
until they finally make their way to the outlet. Events swirling around in time
without reconciliation are "trapped" until they are dealt with. The entire pool
makes up all that time is. All the experiences and thoughts of past, present,
and future that have not been dismissed all contribute to the whole of time.
If the quote stood alone, without the context of Siddhartha's
reflections on his father and his son, it would state that anything that isn't
finished through completion would forever hang in the cloud of time.
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thing that has not suffered to the end..." If something is not carried on to
completion, it will repeat itself until the initiative is taken to finish it. "
...recurred, and the same sorrows were undergone." I can identify with this
quote because at time I am prone to over committal. I will devote myself to too
many things and I cannot physically complete them all. Thus there is always a
shadow of stress and incompletion hanging over my head. This quote is especially
effective because it deals with the sorrows that are to be endured until
completion is pushed through.
In summary, I believe that the quote is a motivating factor for
Siddhartha to overcome the incomplete misfortunes of his past. When the undealt
with problems of his past are dealt with, he can concentrate on living in the
now and not being controlled by his past. Siddhartha realized that he must move
forward in time, recognizing his past only as contributing factors to what he is.
Siddhartha's being encompasses more than just his experiences but also how he is
prepared to deal with future situations.