Siddhartha , which may be one of the most influential novels of the 20th century, is the story of a man's life and his journey to find the meaning of his life. Siddhartha is a man who learns to think for himself after being allowed by his father to leave his family for a group of simple nomads to find a use for his life other than being a Brahmin's son. Towards the end of his life, he finally develops his own views on the meaning of life.
"[Siddhartha is] The true profession of man is to find his way to himself"
Herman Hesse is one of the most proficient authors I have ever read from, using an extremely large amount of description. The amount of description is not comparable to Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea because Hemingway describes the most insignificant elements of the plot in his book. Hesse makes sure he uses metaphors to ensure that the reader understands that they understand what Siddhartha and the characters of the book are saying.
Siddhartha is allowed to leave the Brahmin village by his father to find contempt in his life. He is lead to a group of ascetics, who learn to both pity and envy the world by living simply, fasting for months on end and wearing nearly nothing. After he hears of the Illustrious One, Buddha, he takes a pilgrimage to see him and leaves his friend Govinda who would like to continue to learn from him. He finds his way to a trading city and is consumed by lust and greed when he is taught by about love by a beautiful woman named Kamala. Disgusted by what he has done for the past two decades, he comes to the river and attempts to take his life, until he hears the Om, the word of perfection.
"Just as the potter's wheel, once set in motion, still turns for a long time and then turns only very slowly and stops, so did the wheel of the ascetic still revolve for a long time in Siddhartha's soul: it nearly come to a standstill." (76).
This book has taught me that the material is not the most important thing in life, but your beliefs are. Siddhartha is the book that has taught me the most that I have ever read, and I'm not talking about information, I am talking more along the lines of philosophy. This book has taught me more about life than anything I have ever experience. The book is a must read for everyone, this book is not only a work of fiction with a great plot but a lesson about life as well.