In the novel Siddhartha by Herman Hesse, the main character experiences many ups and downs while on his journey to inner peace. First, he decides to live his life as a Samana. Later he abandons that life in return for a life as a rich man. In the end he decides that his rich life is unsatisfying and he begins the simple life of a ferryman. Herman Hesse writes about what it takes to obtain inner peace through his character Siddhartha. Siddhartha decides the way to obtain peace is by living like a Samana.
Tomorrow at daybreak I will begin the life of the Samanas. ‘ ” (Pg 10) Siddhartha rids his life of all the things he doesn’t need. Then he learns how to control his inner self, but is unable to gain inner peace. He meets a young girl named Kamala, and this makes Siddhartha happy. He learns about love from her. Then one day while he is out with his friend, Govinda, he runs into the Buddha also known as Gotama. Later Siddhartha learns that none of these things are helping him gain peace and he no longer wants to be a Samana.
Then Siddhartha begins to gamble and he gets rich. He becomes addicted to gambling and begins to put his life in danger. When he gambles, he gains many of the finer things in life like a garden, rich clothes and a lot of money. The only problem is, none of these things make him happy. He tries to buy his happiness, but it doesn’t work. “He staked high and unsparingly, hating himself, mocking himself. He won thousands, he threw thousands away, lost money . . . ” (Pg 29) Siddhartha even considers suicide because he is very unhappy.
These problems are making him very old and sick. Siddhartha decides this life also doesn’t make him happy so he decides to move on. This time around Siddhartha decides to become a ferryman. He gets rid of all the things that he doesn’t need just like when he was becoming a Samana. He learns a lot through his new friend Vasudeva. Vasudeva guides Siddhartha and tells him to listen to what the river tells him. ” ‘The River has taught me to listen; you will learn from it too. ‘ ” (Pg 105) Siddhartha learns a lot from listening to the river.
Then Kamala comes back to him with his new son, but then Kamala dies because she gets bitten by a snake. This brings down Siddhartha’s morale. When he runs into Govinda after many years of not seeing him, he becomes happy again. When Govinda sees him after all of those years, he realizes that Siddhartha has now found inner peace. Throughout this novel, Siddhartha experiences some good times and some bad times. He even contemplates suicide at one point, but by the end of the novel he reaches peace with himself. It does take him a long time to gain this inner peace but in the end it is well worth it.