Siddhartha Questions and Answers
by Hermann Hesse

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What are the similarities and differences of Siddhartha by Herman Hesse and The Stranger by Albert Camus?

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It is difficult to imagine two works less likely to appear in a compare and contrast experiment. On the surface, Siddhartha concerns a journey of enlightenment and spiritual fulfillment, whereas The Stranger seems to be an earnest meditation on the futility of everything. There are, however, similarities to be found, primarily between the respective protagonists of the work.

Both Siddhartha and Meursault are outsiders of society. In much the same way that Siddhartha searches for enlightenment among the many faiths of the world, Meursault violently rejects societal norms and illusions of peace. While it is our first instinct to think of Meursault as a detached, uncaring shell, he would, if he were truly uncaring, simply act the part of a civilized citizen to make his life easier. The antagonistic manner with which he approaches society indicates his sincere dissatisfaction. In his own perverse way, he too is seeking enlightenment—a Nirvana that transcends to farcical nature of everything.

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