In the book Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse, how does Kamala's songbird symbolize Siddhartha's time in the essential world?  

Expert Answers info

ishtarishaya eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2017

write10 answers

starTop subjects are History, Literature, and Law and Politics

It's helpful to understand that a good translation of the "Kama" of "Kamala" is desire, especially in the context of sensual desire. In fact, Kamala is a name of the Hindu goddess of desire. The time Siddhartha spends with Kamala is a submersion into the realm of the senses. Keeping this meaning in mind is very helpful in having a fuller understanding of Kamala and Kamala's bird and the book as a whole.

The songbird could be understood as representing Siddhartha's soul or inner voice, urging him to take a certain path over another one. Siddhartha viscerally and thoroughly learns that complete immersion in the sensory world, to the exclusion of subtler dimensions of life, has a profoundly deadening effect upon him, ultimately inspiring him to commit suicide. The songbird kept in a golden cage is a lesson that even the finest aspects of physical life are nowhere sufficient for the total health and well-being of the soul. Through the death of the bird, Hesse is communicating that a golden...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 715 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Jennings Williamson eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseTeacher (K-12)


calendarEducator since 2016

write6,739 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Arts

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Chris Curtis eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2013

write33 answers

starTop subject is Literature

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial