Despite his success in both fronts, though, Siddhartha is still unable to find what he seeks and is even described as ailing in his wealth. He again throws away all of his fortune and returns to the river where he will again experience a rebirth from one state of being to another. “Now, that Im no longer young, that my hair is already half gray, that my strength is fading, now Im starting again at the beginning and as a child! As a child has to begin at the beginning and as Siddhartha himself had had to start from the beginning in becoming acquainted with himself upon his entrance in the city, so must he now return to the beginning in trying to determine how to find that answer he’s been seeking. The teachings of the wild haven’t worked, the teachings of men hasn’t worked, now he will try the teachings of the river. At each of these stages, he follows the same pattern of learning, becoming dissatisfied, then leaving to explore a different path.The river emerges as a continuing pattern within the novel as Siddhartha continues to come back to it. This is foretold by the ferryman, who tells him “I have learned from the river: everything is coming back! You too, Samana, will come back” (Ch. Each time he encounters the river, it represents a kind of new birth for him. This first time is his departure from following the teachings of others and his determination to learn from and about himself. Although he is gone for many years, losing himself and his goal in the excesses of sex, business and gambling, Siddhartha does indeed return to the river at a time when he feels as dirtied by life as he has ever felt. “Was there still any kind of filth, he had not soiled himself with, a sin or foolish act he had not committed, a dreariness of the soul he had not brought upon himself? Rather than killing himself, Siddhartha experiences a new awakening. “Things were going downhill with him, and now he was again facing the world void and naked and stupid” (Ch. In its waters, the river contains all voices and all time and Siddhartha begins to understand life is an experience rather than a thought, a combination rather than a single thing. Physically, the river also represents the cyclical pattern of life in that the water flows downhill to the sea, evaporates and returns to the rivers as rain.Through these cyclical patterns, Hesse emphasizes the pattern of life that is common to all people and the importance of
Works CitedHesse, Herman. Siddhartha. Boston: Shambhala Publications, 2000.
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