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This paper provides a review of the novel, "Siddhartha," by Hermann Hesse explaining how the author uses appearances on a thematic level to demonstrate the path that Siddhartha takes. Describing it as a ''novel on the search for enlightenment'' the paper also explains how the novel also uses the theme of appearances to find order, unity and love for life. The paper concludes that in "Siddhartha", appearance is illusion. and remains secondary to unity. Rather, unity is truth and love yields unity.
From the Paper:"Throughout the novel, Hesse uses appearances on a thematic level to demonstrate the path that Siddhartha himself takes as he ventures into the unknown to discover enlightenment. First, we see Siddhartha as the "handsome Brahmin's son...who was intelligent and thirsty for knowledge ...strong, handsome and supple-limbed" (Hesse 1-2). His appearance is one of respect and strength, and those who know him experience his great authority. But this feeling is only skin-deep. Within, Siddhartha is confused, and thus sets out to change his life. Appearance at this level is used to represent the shift in Siddhartha's maturation, wisdom, and overall closeness to enlightenment. His appearance transforms to fit the mold that his attitude, teachings and thoughts represent at the time. He moves on to become a Samana: a man of the forest, of nature and of few materialistic views. He is bare and soon, his appearance shifts to fit the Samana mold. He conquers material needs, feelings and desires, and thus his appearance is that of an unshaven mountain man who has lived in the forest for a years. Then, he leaves and enters the Kamala stage of his life, which is represented by his lush clothing, excessive gambling, and appearance of a rich man. He has the appearance of a man in Samsara; he is overcome by material needs, risk-taking, and sexual desire. His appearance next shifts to a simple river man, when he meets up with Vasudeva once more on the river bank. He joins Vasudeva and accepts his clothing and has transformed not only his appearance, but his inner self to a person who can accept his own thoughts and ideas and find guidance within. Finally, his appearance is that of a man who has reached enlightenment and conquered nirvana. Govinda, his loyal friend, remarks that "Siddhartha's hands and feet, his eyes, his brow, his breathing, his smile, his greeting, his gait affect me differently from his thoughts" (Hesse 120). His outer appearance is that of an enlightened man, and thus, Govinda says he has not seen such an appearance since he last saw Gotama. This is a strong comparison to make, and thus represents the overall transformation that Siddhartha has undergone. Appearance works in just this way: it shows and traces the path that Siddhartha takes on his journey, and each step of the way represents a different step in Siddhartha's search for enlightenment.''
Cite this Book Review:
Appearances as a Central Theme in "Siddhartha" (2012, December 13) Retrieved January 21, 2022, from https://www.academon.com/book-review/appearances-as-a-central-theme-in-siddhartha-152078/
"Appearances as a Central Theme in "Siddhartha"" 13 December 2012. Web. 21 January. 2022. <https://www.academon.com/book-review/appearances-as-a-central-theme-in-siddhartha-152078/>