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Free Study Guide-Siddhartha by Herman Hesse-Free Book Notes Summary
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PLOT STRUCTURE ANALYSIS

The novel, which is divided into three sections, follows a traditional pattern of plot development as is reveals the four phases of the protagonist's quest to gain an understanding of himself and his place in the world.

The first chapter is larger introductory, telling about Siddhartha family and Brahmin education. In the next three chapters, Siddhartha reveals his quest for knowledge through the precepts of the Brahmins, the priests and guardians of the Veda, and the Samanas, the men who live in self-denial. Although he has learned much from these first two doctrines, Siddhartha is satisfied by neither.


In Part II, the rising action of the plot continues. Siddhartha lives his life among ordinary people and experiences the sensual and materialistic life of Samsara. Kamala, the courtesan, and Kamaswami, the merchant businessman, are his special teachers who expose him to a completely different life than he has ever known. Although he spends many years living a Samsara life, it does not satisfy him in the end; he longs for more, especially the ability to love and inner peace.

The last section of the plot is centered on the river, which is the central metaphor of the book. The river teaches the unity and continuity of life and symbolizes salvation. Through his experiences with the river and Vasudeva, Siddhartha achieves Nirvana.

The climax of Siddhartha's quest is reached in chapter nine when Vasudeva the ferryman successfully initiates Siddhartha into a life of peace and contemplation.

The remaining three chapters contain the falling action, where Siddhartha is seen living a peaceful existence as the ferryman and initiating his friend Govinda into Nirvana.

The denouement comes when Govinda recognizes the Buddha in Siddhartha and fall on his knees in front of him.

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