Opposites Do Infact Attract
Siddhartha, the celebrated book by swiss author Hermann Hesse, is acclaimed for its spiritual story arc. Nonetheless, it is also a minefield for symbolic themes such as the recurring water imagery and the omnipresent circle motif. The most important theme however, is unity, as Siddhartha realizes it is the answer to his search for nirvana. Unity is explored in many ways throughout the whole book, but one way in particular stands out: the idea that opposites attract to form balance and symmetry. Hermann Hesse uses the relationships of the titular character in his book to substantiate the concept that opposites attract and the notion that harmony between antipodes is primordial. Siddhartha’s opinions on materialism, enlightenment and wealth vary from that of his friends Kamala, Govinda and Kamaswami, yet they ensure balance between himself and his companions.
Kamala, Siddhartha’s lover whose expertise drew the young Samana to her, differs from him due to adverse ideals about physical appearance and materialism. When Siddhartha first meets Kamala, she rejects him because “he (Siddhartha) is not yet good enough. He must have clothes, fine clothes, and shoes, fine shoes, and plenty of money of money in his purse and presents for Kamala” (Hesse 45). Kamala places a lot of importance on physical appearance and demeanor, using it to determine her affiliations. Contrastingly, Siddhartha understands that appearances can be deceiving. They can change unlike personality or Atman, the individual soul. “ Remember, my dear Govinda, the world of appearances is transitory, the style of our clothes and our hair is extremely transitory” (76). Though they have contradicting views on the significance of someone’s mien, Siddhartha and Kamala manage to relate to each other and get along. “He (Siddhartha) talked to her (Kamala), learned from her, gave her advice, received advice. She understood him better than Govinda had once done....
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