Why does Siddhartha experience discontent with life at the start of his journey? 

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hesse depicts Siddhartha as unhappy with life because it lacks the real sense of meaning that he so desperately seeks.  Siddhartha is shown to be precocious and one who seeks to understand more than what is there.  This deeper striving for meaning is what causes him discontent.  It causes him discontent because he is unable to simply capitulate to what others do and what others have prescribed for him.  In this, Siddhartha is shown to be different than others, a non- conformist immersed in a world of conformity and acquiescence to socially dictated notions of the good.  The severe and intense strain of questioning to find meaning is what drives Siddhartha to want more and to seek more out of reality and out of what is there.  His need to want to know more and to want to gain a greater understanding to meaning in his own life is what represents the discontent that he experiences.  It is this fundamental discontent that encourages him to leave his home with Govinda and find meaning, discovering a different path than what is there.  In his yearning to see what can be as opposed to what is, Siddhartha feels discontent at being immersed in a world of the latter.  His journey to achieve the former is the result of this discontent.