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The main character Siddhartha goes through a series of transformations in his long journey in this novel. Siddhartha was born wealthy and is very handsome. Siddhartha leaves his comfortable home with his companion Govinda in search of enlightenment. Because he was born into privilege and wealth Siddhartha believed he could achieve enlightenment through poverty and pain. Siddhartha believes he can find a state of happiness and serenity through a long and arduous path. Siddhartha is often arrogant with other characters and people he meets in his journey. He looks down upon the prostitutes and merchants when he is with the group of wanderers.


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Halfway through the book Siddhartha decides to gain world experience with a beautiful woman and becomes a merchant obsessed with materialism. It is ironic that earlier in the book he looked down on this class of people. By the end of the book he runs away from his possessions once again to become a ferryman’s apprentice. But Siddhartha finally learns what true enlightenment is from a river. Siddhartha learned at the end that nothing that he is done in his life has been wasted. Siddhartha grew as a person from everything he went through. Siddhartha finally finds peace and understanding from a simple ferryboat man, and from the timeless river flowing endlessly. The book ends with Siddhartha, smiling a radiant smile of true enlightenment.