Siddhartha

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Young Siddhartha Character Analysis

is the son of Siddhartha and Kamala, conceived in the pleasure grove of the town where Siddhartha has learned the art of love. Young Siddhartha, when he first meets his father, has been nurtured by the rich ways of the town and so, when his mother dies, feels imprisoned by his new guardian in the simple life of the riverside hut. Young Siddhartha provokes the final transformation of Siddhartha—by refusing to stay with his father, he teachers Siddhartha to understand the blind love that the child people feel and to see how he is a part of the cycle, and how his departure from his father mirrors that of Young Siddhartha from him.

Young Siddhartha Quotes in Siddhartha

The Siddhartha quotes below are all either spoken by Young Siddhartha or refer to Young Siddhartha. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Path to Spiritual Enlightenment Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Classics edition of Siddhartha published in 1999.
Part Two, Chapter 10 – The Son Quotes

“Can I part with him?” he asked softly, embarrassed. “Give me more time, dear friend! Look, I am fighting for him, I am wooing his heart, I want to capture it with love and friendly patience. Let the river speak to him too someday; he too is called.”

Related Characters: Siddhartha (speaker), Siddhartha, Vasudeva, Young Siddhartha
Related Symbols: The River
Page Number: 104
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Siddhartha debates the ferryman about how to handle his young son who has come to live with them. The son grew up in the town with Kamala, and has many of the values from the town that Siddhartha and the ferryman reject. The ferryman, who has learned from the river to let things be as they are, gently prods Siddhartha to allow the boy to go back to the town like he wants, but Siddhartha wants more time with the boy, rationalizing that this time could instill better values in his son. Obviously, this echoes the beginning of the book in which Siddhartha wants to abandon his own father's way of life and his father attempts to prevent him from going before finally relenting to Siddhartha's stubborn insistence.

In a sense, then, Siddhartha's experience with his son marks a cyclical reunification with one of the early trials of Siddhartha's journey to enlightenment, only this time it is inverted. Instead of breaking out from his father's way of life, Siddhartha has to now recognize the importance of allowing his son to take his own path, even if it is counter to the one Siddhartha wants for him. Furthermore, Siddhartha cannot himself instill wisdom in his son; as his own journey has taught him, knowledge has to be earned experientially. There is nothing Siddhartha can tell his son that would be as valuable as allowing him to make his own mistakes and discoveries.

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He felt deep love in his heart for the runaway. It was like a wound; and he also felt that the wound was not for wallowing, that it must become a blossom and shine.

Related Characters: Siddhartha, Young Siddhartha
Page Number: 111
Explanation and Analysis:

Siddhartha does not relent and allow his son to make his own path, so his son defies him and runs away, humiliating his father in the process by stealing the ferryman's boat and money. While he and the ferryman search for his son (at the ferryman's insistence this is only to get the boat back), Siddhartha finds himself in Kamala's grove and he remembers every step of his own journey. This memory forces him to acknowledge that he cannot change his son – only his son's experiences and choices can do that. As Siddhartha learned from the river, all he can do is wait for his son's journey to play out as it will.

This realization is another step on Siddhartha's own path to enlightenment. He has never experienced the kind of love before that he feels for his son, and it made him vulnerable to the possessiveness and warped behavior that he judged in the child people. After having had this experience with his son, he can now accept the child people, and by letting his son go, he is gaining all the benefits of giving love and transcending its limitations. This is what Siddhartha means when he describes the wound of his son as one that would become a blossom. It is only this heartbreak with his son that can allow him to attain enlightenment.

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Young Siddhartha Character Timeline in Siddhartha

The timeline below shows where the character Young Siddhartha appears in Siddhartha. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part Two, Chapter 9 – The Ferryman
The Path to Spiritual Enlightenment Theme Icon
Nature and the Spirit Theme Icon
Direction and Indirection Theme Icon
...inside him, then he recognizes the mother and knows that the boy must be his son. (full context)
The Path to Spiritual Enlightenment Theme Icon
Young Siddhartha is afraid for his mother and Siddhartha tries to comfort his son. He remembers a prayer he learned from the Brahmins and sings it. His son calms... (full context)
Part Two, Chapter 10 – The Son
Direction and Indirection Theme Icon
Truth and Illusion Theme Icon
...him. But though at first, Siddhartha felt so enriched by the thought of knowing his son, as time goes on, the boy’s mischievous ways and surly attitude toward Siddhartha drains him... (full context)
The Path to Spiritual Enlightenment Theme Icon
But, as time goes on, Siddhartha, expecting his son to come round and learn to love him, is disappointed. Young Siddhartha is defiant and... (full context)
The Path to Spiritual Enlightenment Theme Icon
Nature and the Spirit Theme Icon
Direction and Indirection Theme Icon
Siddhartha doesn’t feel ready to part with his son. He asks for more time. He believes that he can woo his son and that... (full context)
The Path to Spiritual Enlightenment Theme Icon
Direction and Indirection Theme Icon
Satisfaction and Dissatisfaction Theme Icon
...and sulking. Nothing about Siddhartha can influence the boy. He is bored and feels so imprisoned by Siddhartha's kindness that he would almost prefer to be punished. One day, when Siddhartha... (full context)
Direction and Indirection Theme Icon
Satisfaction and Dissatisfaction Theme Icon
Siddhartha is anxious for the child ’s safety and begs that they make a raft and follow him. But Vasudeva responds... (full context)
The Path to Spiritual Enlightenment Theme Icon
Direction and Indirection Theme Icon
...to the boat, there is no oar left. He wants Siddhartha to realize that his son doesn’t want to be followed. Siddhartha hurries to search for his son, but as he... (full context)
Part Two, Chapter 11 – Om
The Path to Spiritual Enlightenment Theme Icon
Nature and the Spirit Theme Icon
Truth and Illusion Theme Icon
...oneness and the smile that real wisdom is all about. But the wound of his son still burns in him, and one day he longs to go to town and see... (full context)
The Path to Spiritual Enlightenment Theme Icon
Nature and the Spirit Theme Icon
Direction and Indirection Theme Icon
Visions appear to Siddhartha as he watches, the faces of his lonely son and lonely father, and himself. The voice of the river is lamenting and determined. Vasudeva... (full context)