Siddhartha Questions and Answers
by Hermann Hesse

Siddhartha book cover
Start Your Free Trial

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.

Expert Answers info

Jay Oza, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseTeacher (K-12), Professional Writer

bookB.A. from University of Massachusetts–Dartmouth

bookM.A. from Northeastern University


calendarEducator since 2018

write22 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Business, and Arts

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...

(The entire section contains 247 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial