Siddhartha: Innocence vs. Experience

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Ariana Queenan-Newton
Professor Marinelli and Brielle Basso
WSC001
October 8, 2012

Siddhartha: Innocence vs. Experience
Hermann Hesse is an author widely recognized for his many novels contemplating the meaning of life and the role religion in a psychoanalytical way (Riley 145) . The novella Siddhartha is no exception to this well known fact about Hermann Hesse. In Siddhartha Hesse makes the strong focal point of the novel innocence versus experience. As a young man Siddhartha explores his surroundings and as a results witnesses and discovers many human hardships that he didn’t know existed. Through his journey he acquires much information on what it actually means to be good or evil. Siddhartha struggles and conquers what it means to be at peace with oneself. Hesse uses Siddhartha to provoke thoughts about the meaning of life, human existence, and the many flaws in society.

If not read in an analytical manner Siddhartha can be interpreted as a story about a young man who unnecessarily wondered around the wilderness. When in fact Siddhartha was searching for the intangible. He was looking for what his riches could not buy. Siddhartha was sheltered from many if not all of the hardships experienced in life. His parents wanted to protect his innocence so they wanted to shield him from the real world. Siddhartha had no real life experiences because he lived a comfortable life and had many task completed for him. Siddhartha’s decision to leave his wealth is what led him to the road of self-discovery (Schoenberg and Trudeau 237). Siddhartha had to first leave what he knew to seek experiences so that he could learn who he actually was. Siddhartha left what many would consider the perfect life to pursue a spiritual journey.

Once the wool was pulled from Siddhartha’s eyes, his spiritual journey allowed him to become familiar with the difference between good and evil. His experiences also allowed him to be able to identify what is considered morally correct...
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