Essay about The Power of the River in Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha

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'For ages, the river has been a sign of eternity and has served as a symbol of spiritual awareness to many people'(Rahula 39). The river in Siddhartha, by Hermann Hesse, is an important symbol. Hesse provides many references to the river throughout his novel, and it serves many purposes in his writing.

Siddhartha who is the main character, grows up with his father and mother on a riverbank, in India. He decides to leave the world of the Brahmins to seek his own way. Govinda, Siddhartha's companion, follows him to the world of the Samanas. After a few years with the Samanas, Siddhartha decides that he wants to move on yet again. He and Govinda go to listen to the teachings of the Buddha. Siddhartha once again decides to move
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It is continually moving and changing, yet it is always there. Life exists in everything, and though everything is continually changing, it still exists as one universe. Siddhartha realizes the circularity as he rows his raft across the river to find his son, who had run away from him a short time before. As he is crossing the river, he hears the river "laughing" at him.*

"He saw his face reflected in the quietly moving water, and there was something in this reflection that reminded him of something he had forgotten and when he reflected on it, he remembered. His face resembled that of another person, whom he had once known and loved and even feared. It resembled the face of his father, the Brahmin. He remembered how once, as a youth, he had compelled his father to let him go and join the ascetics, how he had taken leave of him, how he had gone and never returned. Had not his father also suffered the same pain that he was now suffering for his son? Had not his father died long ago, alone, without having seen his son again? Did he not expect the same fare? Was it not a comedy, a strange and stupid thing, this repetition, this course of events in a fateful circle?" (Hesse 131-132). This symbolism of the river demonstrates ?the circularity of life, in how Siddhartha's fate resembled that of his father?(Mileck 62).

In Siddhartha, the river serves as a boundary between worlds. After Siddhartha lives with the Samanas, he realizes that practicing