1. Identify Siddhartha and Govinda and discuss their friendship. How are they alike and different? Do you have an important friendship? How would it compare to that relationship described in the novel. Siddhartha is friends with Govinda. They are alike because they both grew up in Brahmin families. Govinda is happy with his life right now while on the other hand Siddhartha is not. I do have an important friendship. My friendship would not be similar because my friend does not come from the same background as I do. 2. Describe the quality of life that Siddhartha leads. Identify his family, friends, religious experience and training. Siddhartha leads a nice life. He comes from a good Brahmin family, he has good friends (Govinda and others), and a good religious experience and training.
3. Why is Siddhartha disillusioned with performing the ritual of ablution? What does he fear if he stays at home and continues with his father’s religion? Siddhartha is disillusioned with performing the ritual of absolution because it doesn’t bring him joy/happiness. He fears that if he stays at home and continues with his father’s religion, he will not have joy.
4. What does Siddhartha conclude about finding peace? Why does he fear that he will not find it in prescribed religious teachings? Siddhartha concludes that he has to get rid of distractions to find peace. Siddhartha fears that he will not find peace in prescribed religious teachings because he does not receive joy or peace from these teachings. 5. Explain the steps in the reaction of his father to his decisions and Siddhartha’s responses. What does this exchange reveal about parent and child relationships At first, Siddhartha’s father does not want Siddhartha to go but then lets Siddhartha go. This reveals that parents want what is best for their children even if it is not the best for them.
CHAPTER 2 – WITH THE SAMANAS 1. How does Siddhartha divest himself of his past? What is his new goal? What new skills does he learn with the Samanas? Siddhartha divests himself of his past by getting rid of his material possessions and fasting. Siddhartha’s new goal is to become empty. With the Samanas, Siddhartha learns to deny himself and get away from the Self. 2. Why does he wish to “lose the Self? Siddhartha wishes to “lose the Self” so he can achieve enlightenment. 3. Why is Govinda called his Shadow? Govinda is called Siddhartha’s Shadow because Govinda follows Siddhartha around.
4. What does Siddhartha feel are the inadequacies of the Samanas’ beliefs and practices? What ideas does Govinda present to counter his doubts? Siddhartha feels that the inadequacies of the Samana’s beliefs and practices are that he is not learning anything to help him achieve enlightenment. The ideas that Govinda presents to counter his doubts are that they are learning how to achieve enlightenment. 5. Discuss the description of Gotama/Buddha and his effect on his world. The description of Gotama/Buddha and his effect on his world is that he has achieved enlightenment and he helps others do the same. 6. Discuss Govinda’s hope and Siddhartha’s skepticism regarding Gotama. Govinda is hopeful that Gotama is what everyone says he is and Siddhartha is skeptical of how great Gotama is.
CHAPTER 3 – GOTAMA 1. Describe the Buddha’s appearance and character, his speech, his manner of instructing. Gotama is a monk with a yellow robe, portrayed perfection, his voice was full of peace and perfection, and the instructed wonderfully. 2. Why do Govinda and Siddhartha part? Govinda and Siddhartha part because Govinda wants to follow the Buddha while Siddhartha does not.
3. Examine the conversation between Buddha and Siddhartha. How are their beliefs similar and different? Any similarities between this conversation and the conversation between Siddhartha and his father? Buddha and Siddhartha’s beliefs are similar because they believe that you need to have a relationship with “the Self” but their beliefs differ because Siddhartha believes that there is a gap in Buddha’s teachings. This conversation is similar to the conversation between Siddhartha and his father because the Buddha tries to convince Siddhartha of his ways but then lets Siddhartha go. 4. What is the connection between Siddhartha’s loss of Govinda as his shadow and his discovery of himself? The connection between Siddhartha’s loss of Govinda as his shadow and his discovery of himself is that Siddhartha realizes that he needs to focus on himself alone.
CHAPTER 4 – AWAKENING 1. Examine carefully Siddhartha’s statement about what he has learned. What is your reaction to his beliefs. My reaction is his beliefs is I do not understand how someone can not know themselves. 2. What is the cause of his smile? His awakening? How is he changed? The cause of this simile is the new knowledge that it gives. The cause of his awakening is the knowledge he received after talking to Buddha. 3. What is the “snake in his path”? What change does this discussion lead to? Trace the changes in feeling as he goes through this process of thinking. The “snake in his path” is that Siddhartha does not have a place that he belongs to. The change this discussion leads to is Siddhartha realizes he is alone. The changes in feeling as he goes through this process of thinking is that he knows he does not have a place he belongs to and he also realizes that he is alone.
CHAPTER 5 – KAMALA 1. Discuss how Siddhartha views the world after his decision to leave Buddha. After his decision to leave Buddha Siddhartha views the world like the world was changed and all new. Like the word renaissance which means rebirth. 2. Describe Siddhartha’s dream. Siddhartha’s dream was that Govinda appeared and when he kissed him, Govinda turned into a woman. 3. What wisdom does Siddhartha learn from the ferryman? What is symbolized by his river crossing? The wisdom that Siddhartha learns from the ferryman is the wonder of the river. New beginnings are symbolized by his river crossing. 4. Why does Kamala attract him? Describe his method of courtship. What does he expect to learn from Kamala? What skills and knowledge do they share with each other? Kamala attracts him because she is beautiful. His method of courtship is spending time in Kamala;s backyard. He expects to learn more about Kamala’s world. They share talents and knowledge they have learned.
CHAPTER 6 – AMONGST THE PEOPLE 1. What changes does Siddhartha have to make to become a “man of the world”? Siddhartha needs to change how he looks and his lifestyle in order to become a “man of the world”. 2. Contrast Kamaswami and Siddhartha’s views of business and of life in general. Kamaswami worries about profit and what he will gain from the business. While Siddhartha focuses on connections he makes with other people in business. 3. Analyze the “soft, gentle inner voice” Siddhartha hears. Can you relate to this experience? I can relate to this experience because this is like when I hear god speaking to me when I pray. 4. What meaning develops through Siddhartha’s relationship of pleasure with Kamala? In what sense is Siddhartha not an “ordinary person”? The meaning that develops through Siddhartha’s relationship of pleasure with Kamala is trust. Siddhartha is not an “ordinary person” in the sense that he has spiritual understanding.
CHAPTER 7 – SAMSARA 1. Discuss the comparison of Siddhartha’s Samanas years and his Samsara (Kamala/Kamaswami) years that begins this chapter. What do you see as the value of each of these experience? The value I see of each of these experiences is that Siddhartha has valuable learning experiences in life and he also learns to build relationships. 2. How is Siddhartha affected by the life of rich men? Do you think wealth inevitably brings the problems “of discontent, of sickliness, of displeasure, of idleness, of lovelessness”? Why does Siddhartha succumb to this life? Siddhartha is affected by the life of rich men because he loses himself. I do not think wealth does not inevitably bring problems “of discontent, of sickliness, of displeasure, of idleness, of loveliness” because if one learns to manage their money and is married to someone who loves them because of who they are one can have a happy wealthy life. Siddhartha succumbs to this life because of Kamala and his temptation.
3. Describe his decision with Kamala about the Buddha. What change begins to take place in Siddhartha? What are the first signs of this charge? Siddhartha’s decision with Kamala about the Buddha is how good the quality of life Buddha lives. The change that begins to take place in Siddhartha is he begins to live lustfully. 4. Analyze Siddhartha’s dream. What does the songbird in the golden cage symbolize? The songbird in the golden cage symbolizes Siddhartha. 5. What does Hesse mean when he writes, “Siddhartha knew that the game was finished…”? What decision does Siddhartha make at the end of this chapter? Why does he leave Kamala? What is her reaction? When Hesse writes “Siddhartha knew that the game was finished…” he means Siddhartha knows he needs to change the way he lives. Siddhartha decides to leave the city at the end of this chapter. He leaves Kamala because his lifestyle is not good anymore. Kamala was shocked by his decision.
CHAPTER 8 – BY THE RIVER 1. What is signified by the fact that Siddhartha goes into the forest and eventually becomes unconscious beside a river? Siddhartha begins the same path he took when he came to the city which is significant. 2. Discuss the images Hesse uses to show that Siddhartha is overcome by sadness and guilt. What lesson from his youth rescues him from this despair? The lesson from his youth that rescues his from this despair is the “Om” he had learned. 3. What do you think the “Om” means in this passage? Have you ever tried to do the “Om” exercise? I think the “Om” means to be peaceful, worry free, and blank. I have tried to do the “Om” a few times.
4. What is signified by the long sleep that follows this crisis in Siddhartha’s journey? A rebirth is signified by the long sleep that follows this crisis in Siddhartha’s journey. 5. Does it seem coincidental that he is discovered by his old friend Govinda? This coincidental plot elements suggests that Govinda may actually be a symbolic figure. What might he represent? Is the meaning of the character here the same as his “shadow” role in the opening chapters? It does seem coincidental that he is discovered by his old friend Govinda. He might represent God. The meaning of the character here is the same as his “shadow” role in the opening chapters.
6. The conversation between Siddhartha and Govinda is one of the most important sections of the novel. Compare what the two friends have learned. What are their philosophies of life? Siddhartha’s philosophy of life is that one needs to “learn yourself”. And Govinda’s philosophy of life is that one can learn from a teacher. 7. Explain what Siddhartha has learned about his past. Examine the last three paragraphs of this chapter and try to imagine Siddhartha’s feelings. Siddhartha has learned importance of spiritual life about his past. 8. Discuss the “wheel” of Siddhartha’s life. The “wheel” of Siddhartha’s life is that he has discovered the right path to enlightenment and then he realizes he is not on the right path.
CHAPTER 9 – THE FERRYMAN 1. Explain the connections between Siddhartha’s learning and his decision to remain by the river. (Look at his explanation of the meaning of the river to his new friend Vasudeva.) The connections between Siddhartha’s learning and his decision to remain by the river are that the river saved him so he wants to learn from the river.
2. Explain the events that make Siddhartha think about the Gautama Buddha again and about Kamala. Why do you suppose Hesse introduces the complications of Kamala’s death and his discovery of his son just when it seems that Siddhartha has reached his goal in life? The events that make Siddhartha think about the Gautama Buddha again about Kamala is that a snake bites Kamala. I think Hesse introduces the complications of Kamala’s death and his discovery of his son when it seems that Siddhartha has reached his goal in life because no one’s life is perfect; not everything always goes the way you plan it. 3. How does Kamala die? How does Siddhartha react to her death? Kamala dies because of a snake bite. Siddhartha is sad because of her death but he is happy to have his son.