Siddhartha Questions and Answers
by Hermann Hesse

Siddhartha book cover
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What is the symbolism of the river in Siddhartha?

The river in Siddhartha symbolizes balance. Siddhartha lived a life of extremes before settling down by the river. In the early part of the book, he is deeply entrenched in the world of spiritualism. Later in the book, he is deeply entrenched in the world of materialism. His life lesson, and the lesson for the reader, is to live by the river, living a life of balance that incorporates aspects of spiritualism and materialism that matter to you.

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The river symbolizes balance. In the first part of the book, Siddhartha lives in a spiritual world. He experiences life with his family in the village practicing Hinduism. He lives with the Samanas and practices spirituality with them. He learns directly from the Buddha, and although he does not stay, he learns the basic tenets of Buddhism.

For a brief moment, the reader sees him cross the river into the material world. On the other side of the river, he learns...

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