Appearances in "Siddhartha" Book Review by Peter Pen

Appearances in "Siddhartha"
An examination of the theme of appearances in the novel, "Siddhartha," by Hermann Hesse.
# 113841 | 1,685 words | 0 sources | 2009
Published on May 14, 2009 in English (Analysis) , Literature (German)

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This paper examines the novel, "Siddhartha," by Hermann Hesse. It specifically discusses the intrinsic theme of appearances and how this theme relates to several other themes that are essential to understanding the novel as whole. The paper shows how the theme of appearances functions as a mechanism creating doubt and wonder within Siddhartha and pushing him on in his ultimate search for true and deep understanding.

From the Paper:

"How Siddhartha approaches appearances in the novel also demonstrates a direct and complete shift from part one to the end of the novel. In part one, Siddhartha clings to the idea of enlightenment, but cannot reach it. He is dumbfounded by the lack of progress he has made because he has been able to surpass his teachers every step of the way. At the end of part one, Siddhartha is ready to leave his teachings and set out on his own path. He realizes it's his only way to find true enlightenment. At this point in part one, the concept of appearances is shown to be false, deceiving and ultimately not concrete. On the exterior, Siddhartha remains one of the brightest and most learned students, but on the interior, the turmoil pushes on, eating at Siddhartha and causing speculation and doubt within Siddhartha. Appearance, in part one, functions as a facade that hides enlightenment and deceives those who seek it. This is why Siddhartha says "I called my eyes and tongue, chance" and, once again, why he does refer to appearance as "illusion" (Hesse 33). He has not yet found enlightenment, and thus, has not yet learned how appearance relates to enlightenment, but he asserts that appearances are not real, and that we only think that appearances are true, but in fact, they are not."

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