Authorial Information - Herman Hesse was born in 1877 in a rural part of Germany. He lived in a ministry and was expected to devote his life to his religion. He however left the ministry in 1892. When he was expelled from high school he started work at a German bookstore. In 1919 he moved permanently to Switzerland and released many books. One of his last books, Magistar Ludi, won him the Nobel Prize in 1946. He lived in seclusion in Switzerland until his death in 1962.
Author's Unique Style - Herman Hesse uses dreams to foretell what stage of his life he is going to next. He also uses images of the river to represent the rivers knowledge and wisdom.
Setting - Siddhartha takes place in India during the time of Buddha. At that time both Buddhism and Muslim were the dominant religions of India.
Theme - The theme of the story is that you can't follow a guide to happiness, or in Siddhartha's case, peace.
Characters - Siddhartha- Siddhartha is a young handsome Brahmin when the story starts out. He becomes infatuated with the believe of total peace, and goes about trying to obtain it. At the end of the story he obtains inner peace.
Govinda- Govinda is Siddhartha's best friend. He also is striving to obtain inner peace. He follows Siddhartha for a while, but eventually goes to follow Buddha. Towards the end Govinda meets up with Siddhartha and discovers that he has obtained peace.
Vasadava- Vasadava is the old ferryman that has obtained the peace that Siddhartha has striven to obtain. He learns all that he knows about spirituality and peace from the river. At the end Vasadava leaves into the woods to die in peace.
Kamaswami- Kamaswami is the rich merchant that employees Siddhartha...