Siddhartha Questions and Answers
by Hermann Hesse

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What does Hermann Hesse suggest about the relationship between fathers and sons in Siddhartha?

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Despite Siddhartha's unique life, the situation in which he finds himself is a common father-son conflict in which a boy typically feels closer to his mother, does not appreciate his father's values fully, and feels harshly judged by his father. Siddhartha has been absent for the first eleven years of his son's life. The son, raised alone by his wealthy mother, Kamala, is unsurprisingly spoiled. His entire life has revolved around his mother, and when Kamala dies of snakebite, the boy is at sea in an unknown world. Siddhartha's ascetic values and the lifestyle of self-denial he has resumed alongside the ferryman Vasudeva are alien to the boy. The arc of Siddhartha's journey in life is disconnected from his son; the boy is too young to appreciate or understand the virtue (as Siddhartha sees it) of being a samana, of letting go of the material concerns of the world.

The tragic conflict between father and son in Hermann Hesse's parable is symbolic of the general reality of fathers and sons, of...

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