Hermann Hesse

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Siddhartha can help.

The Smile Symbol Analysis

The Smile Symbol Icon
The Buddha has a serene smile when Siddhartha first sees him, and this smile is symbolic of the man’s perfection, his childlike love for the world and his tranquility, and becomes a symbol of the ideal state of enlightenment that all the novel’s characters are searching for. As Siddhartha’s measure of spiritual wisdom changes and matures, thanks to the natural world, he sees the smile again on Vasudeva’s face, showing that enlightenment can come with listening and living and isn’t reserved for philosophers. In the final chapter, faced with his past and present and at ease with everything, Siddhartha smiles with this perfect smile and shows Govinda that he has reached his goal.

The Smile Quotes in Siddhartha

The Siddhartha quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Smile. 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
Part 1, Chapter 3 Quotes

I have never seen anyone gaze and smile like that, sit and stride like that, he thought. Truly, I wish I could gaze and smile, sit and stride like that, so free, so venerable, so concealed, so open, so childlike and mysterious.

Related Characters: Siddhartha (speaker), Gautama
Related Symbols: The Smile
Page Number: 34
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 2, Chapter 11 Quotes

Radiant was Vasudeva’s smile, it hovered, luminous, over all the wrinkles in his old face just as the om hovered over all the voices of the river. Bright shone his smile when he looked at his friend, and bright now glowed the very same smile on Siddhartha’s face.

Related Characters: Siddhartha, Vasudeva
Related Symbols: The Smile, The River
Page Number: 119
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 2, Chapter 12 Quotes

He no longer saw his friend Siddhartha’s face; instead he saw other faces, many, a long row, a streaming river of faces, hundreds, thousands, which all came and faded and yet seemed all to be there at once, which kept changing and being renewed, and yet which all were Siddhartha.

Related Characters: Siddhartha, Govinda
Related Symbols: The Smile
Related Literary Devices:
Page Number: 130
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Siddhartha LitChart as a printable PDF.
Siddhartha PDF

The Smile Symbol Timeline in Siddhartha

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Smile appears in Siddhartha. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part One, Chapter 3 – Gautama
The Path to Spiritual Enlightenment Theme Icon
Nature and the Spirit Theme Icon
Direction and Indirection Theme Icon
Truth and Illusion Theme Icon
The Buddha’s peaceful smile is unwavering . He warns Siddhartha to be careful of his own cleverness. Then he goes smiling... (full context)
Part Two, Chapter 12 – Govinda
The Path to Spiritual Enlightenment Theme Icon
Nature and the Spirit Theme Icon
Direction and Indirection Theme Icon
Truth and Illusion Theme Icon
Satisfaction and Dissatisfaction Theme Icon
...he can understand, to take with him when they part for the last time. Siddhartha smiles still . Govinda’s face is full of angst and seeking. Siddhartha tells him to come close... (full context)