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The novel Siddhartha takes place in ancient India in the sixth century BC. The story is told by a third person narrator with the quotations, words and thoughts of various characters. The narrator generally looks at things from Siddhartha’s perspective. Siddhartha is a philosophical story about a man’s personal quest for self-fulfillment and enlightenment. Siddhartha has a very long journey towards his ultimate goal of complete happiness and enlightenment. The theme of the book is about the individual’s difficult and lonely search for meaning in life. Siddhartha grew up wealthy in ancient India, yet he rejected his comforts to live as a penniless wanderer. He discovers poverty, thirst, hunger, disease and pain for the first time in his life. He has been sheltered from these difficulties from birth and they are all new to him.


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In his desire to attain a state of happiness and serenity he leaves his wandering life and becomes a merchant. In this section of the novel he is very wealthy and finds passion and love with a woman. He then flees his new comfortable materialistic life to become a ferryman’s apprentice. In the river he discovers wisdom from the water and the tides. In the end he rediscovers his old friend and teaches him about the river. Becoming a ferryman and teaching others about his enlightenment. Siddhartha finds peace, understanding and true enlightenment.