Commentary on an Extract in Siddhartha

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The author juxtaposes two very contradicting and differing lifestyles – the Samanas’ lifestyle and the way of life of the vast majority, the town people. On one level it may seem that the way the town people lead their lives is in accordance to society’s expectations of the respective occupations but to Siddhartha, everything he saw was unacceptable.

This passage is an introduction to Siddhartha’s new life that he chose, the way of the Samanas. By “(giving) his robe away to a poor Brahmin in the street” it symbolizes the passing on of his previous life for something new. The passage shares the theme of condemnation of materialistic indulgence and the embracing of a life free from pleasures and desires, which, in Siddhartha’s point of view, is the only way to achieve enlightenment. It emphasizes that Siddhartha is Siddhartha and that he cannot be compared.

The passage was narrated in a third person point of view and by beginning each paragraph with “Siddhartha”, is subtle creates an illusion of a greater power, a higher order majesty, an intangible sense of respect for Siddhartha. This helped to conjure a sense of detachment, a buffer zone and a very solemn, calm and composed setting. Though there’s a feeling of detachment in the sense that the readers are not very engaged in Siddhartha’s physical actions but it opens a portal to his inner thoughts and feelings through explicit description and examples.

There is a certain conflict in this passage as it deals with the Siddhartha’s reaction when he walked through town. “His gaze grew icy cold when it encountered women; his mouth curled in scorn when he walked though a town with people in lovely clothes.” These are exaggerations that are just meant for figurative interpretations but it brings out the depth of abhorrence and loathe that Siddhartha felt. The repeated use of the word “everything” dismisses every way of life that Siddhartha was once familiar, with and it create a tone of condescension. It...
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