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Name: _________________________________________________________________________ Date ____________
Siddhartha: Study Guide
PART ONE: Chapter 1: The Son of the Brahman
NOTE: Read this chapter with the First Noble Truth in mind: Existence is suffering.
Vocabulary
1. aberration – deviation
2. ablutions – baths
3. ascetics – those who practice self-denial for spiritual
reasons
4. avaricious – greedy
5. configuration – shape
6. contemplation – the act of considering or thinking
about something for a long period of time
7. demeanor – conduct
8. dispel – scatter
9. emaciated – extremely thin
10. expiatory – serving to satisfy
11. exploits – noble or heroic acts
12. functionary – official
13. gait – the way in which a person walks
14. germinate – sprout; begin to develop
15. indignation – anger, especially in response to injustice
16. invocation – a prayer that is usually given at the
beginning of a religious service or formal ceremony
17. malicious – in the manner of wanting to cause injury
or to distress someone
18. mendicant – begging
19. molten – melted
20. oratorical – in the manner of a person who can speak
well before a group
21. parched – shriveled with heat
22. penitents – people who feel sorrow for committing
their sins
23. plantain – banana
24. propriety – socially acceptable conduct
25. protruded – stuck out
26. purification – the act of becoming innocent or free
from sin
27. sages – wise people
28. sate – satisfy
29. sojourn – a brief stay
30. solitude – the state of being alone
31. venerable – deserving of being adored or worshipped
32. wafted – caused to move lightly as if by the wind
Questions
1. Define Brahmanism. What religion are Brahmans?
2. Siddhartha and his family practice Hinduism. Describe four activities related to Hinduism that
Siddhartha engages in while living at home with his father.
3. Who is Siddhartha? Using the chart below, record textual evidence that answers this
question. List details about his personality and physical appearance. Also show how other
characters feel about Siddhartha.
Textual Evidence (page #)
Personality
Physical
Appearance
Father’s
View
What do we learn about
Siddhartha?
Name: _________________________________________________________________________ Date ____________
Mother’s
View
Girls’ Views
Govinda’s
View
Other
4. List the Epithets given for Siddhartha and Govinda.
5. Who are the Samanas? Why does Siddhartha join their group?
6. Describe how Siddhartha convince his father to give him permission to leave home and join the Samanas?
7. How does Govinda react when he learns about Siddhartha’s determination to leave home and join the Samanas?
8. Using textual evidence (and the page number,) Support the following statement: Siddhartha’s father has not found
true bliss as a Brahman following the teachings of Hinduism. (Hint: You will find the textual evidence when he gives
Siddhartha permission to leave.)
9. The first Noble Truths is “Existence is suffering.” How has Siddhartha suffered in this chapter?
Name: _________________________________________________________________________ Date ____________
PART ONE: Chapter 2: With the Samanas
NOTE: Read this chapter with the Second Noble Truth in mind: Suffering arises from desire.
Vocabulary
1. abscesses – infected areas
2. assiduous – diligent
3. beatified – blessed by heaven
4. befitting – suitable for
5. brambles – bushes that have thorns or are otherwise
prickly
6. castigation – punishment or severe criticism
7. consolations – ways to soothe grief
8. delusion – something that is misleading or deceptive
9. doctrine – teachings held by a group
10. emanated – originated
11. hearkened – listened
12. inclination – liking; desire to do something
13. laden – loaded; burdened
14. lamenting – mourning loudly; wailing
15. mantle – a loose, sleeveless garment worn over other
clothes
16. meditate – to think about or consider
17. mortified – self-inflicted suffering (an ascetic life)
18. pious – sacred; religious
19. questing – searching
20. realms – domains; kingdoms
21. repose – rest; peace
22. retention –holding
23. revilement – verbal abuse
24. secular – not sacred or related to religion
25. succumbed – gave in to a superior or overpowering
force
26. whit – bit
Questions
10. What religion are the Samanas?
11. Why does Siddhartha fast, abstain from sex, and withdraw completely from anything that provides him comfort?
12. List two ways Siddhartha learns to lose the Self while studying with the Samanas.
13. What epithet is used to describe Govinda? What important characteristic about Govinda is Hesse helping the reader
remember and understand with this epithet?
14. Why does Siddhartha feel that he cannot find the path to happiness by studying and learning from books or from the
lessons of the old masters?
15. Why do the rumors about Gotama the Illustrious, the Buddha, captivate Siddhartha?
16. Define Nirvana.
17. Why does Siddhartha hypnotizes the old samana? What does this incident tell us about Siddhartha?
18. The second of the Noble Truths is “Suffering arises from desire.” What did Siddhartha learn from his suffering?
Name: _________________________________________________________________________ Date ____________
PART ONE: Chapter 3: Gotama
NOTE: Read this chapter with the Third Noble Truth in mind: Suffering ends when desire ends.
Questions:
1. Describe the Buddha. Describe how Siddhartha views him.
2. List the epithets given to Gotama, the Buddha
3. How does the Buddha’s appearance show that he has reached total peace?
4. Part way through this chapter, Govinda stops being Siddhartha’s follower and begins to follow his own path or
destiny. Why does Govinda do this?
5. Explain why Siddhartha is happy for Govinda.
6. What kind of salvation is the Buddha offering his followers through his teaching? Why does Siddhartha question the
idea of salvation as part of the Buddha’s lessons?
7. Siddhartha refuses to tell his friend why he does not join as one of Buddha’s followers. Why does Siddhartha do
this?
8. Many critics believe the Buddha breaks away from his peaceful serenity when he says to Siddhartha: “You are wise,
oh Samana…You know how to talk wisely, my friend. Be wary of too much wisdom!” (Pg. 35) Support or refute the
idea that Siddhartha is able to pierce the Buddha’s peaceful countenance.
9. In this chapter Siddhartha learned the third of the Noble Truths: “Suffering ends when desire ends.” Explain
how/why he has learned this lesson.
Name: _________________________________________________________________________ Date ____________
PART ONE: Chapter 4: Awakening
NOTE: Read this chapter with the Fourth Noble Truth in mind: The way to end desire is to follow the Eight-Fold Path.
Vocabulary
1. ascertained – learned with certainty
2. contemptible – despicable
3. despondency – hopelessness
4. diffuse – widely spread
5. forlorn – hopeless; wretched
6. illusion – being deceived
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
multiplicity – a great number or variety
obtuse – unintelligent
reside – live
sundered – severed
throe – spasm or attack
Questions
1. In order to awaken and find new experiences, Siddhartha must leave behind his “old” life. What aspect of his life does
Siddhartha leave behind?
2. What does Siddhartha intend to study?
3. What is the Hindi (Brahmin and Samana) teaching of nature? Why does Siddhartha abandon this teaching?
4. After awakening, Siddhartha thinks he is like a newborn child and should return to his father. Why doesn’t he go
home? What part of himself is Siddhartha leaving behind?
5. What does Siddhartha realize gives him a “profound feeling of awakening from long dreams…”? (Pg. 22-3)
6. What epithet does Hesse use for Siddhartha after this awakening?
7.
The fourth and last Noble Truth is “The way to end desire is to follow the Eight-Fold Path?” Read the last
sentence of this chapter. Explain how the last sentence supports this teaching.
Name: _________________________________________________________________________ Date ____________
PART TWO: Chapter 5: Kamala
NOTE: The second part of this book has eight chapters, just like the Eight-fold Path has eight parts. When you read each
chapter, try to determine if Siddhartha discovers his “right” path all eight times. The first Eight-Fold Path is Right Belief.
Vocabulary
1. anointed – applied with oil as part of a religious
ceremony
2. beseeching – begging; pleading
3. cistern – underground water tank
4. courtesan – a prostitute associated with men of wealth
5. disheveled – carelessly dressed
6. eddies – whirlpools
7. engulfed – enclosed
8. entrust – confide
9. essence – fundamental nature
10. imparts – gives
ineffable – indescribable
jocular – to joke
ken – range of understanding
omen – a sign or warning of a future occurrence
resounded – echoed
sedan chair – a covered chair on poles which is
carried by several men
17. toilsome – difficult; laborious; fatiguing; tiresome
18. transcendent – supreme; superlative
19. transitory – temporary
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.
16.
Questions
1. Support the following statement with a quotation from the book: After his awakening, Siddhartha becomes reborn, is
childlike, and appreciates the beauty of the natural world with childlike wonder.
2. How does Siddhartha plan to emulate Gotama’s way of finding enlightenment?
3. What view of life can be found in the conversation between the ferryman and Siddhartha?
4. What prediction does the ferryman make that foreshadows a future relationship between himself and Siddhartha?
5. What do you think Siddhartha means when he says, “All I meet on my path are like Govinda”? (Pg. 27)
6. Support the following statement: Siddhartha listens to his inner voice, which tells him to explore his sexuality, and then
guides him to that goal.
7. What does Kamala want Siddhartha to accomplish before she accepts him as a pupil?
8. How does Siddhartha respond to her requirements?
9. What is inferred, but not actually stated, in the following quotation? “But tell me, beautiful Kamala, do you not have
any fear of the Samana from the forest who has come here to learn love?… he’s strong, the Samana, and he fears
nothing. He could force you, beautiful girl. He could abduct you. He could hurt you.” (Pg. 31)
10. List the three accomplishments Siddhartha gains from his time as a Samana.
11. What advice does Kamala give Siddhartha in his relationship with the merchant Kamaswami?
12. The first goal of the Eight-Fold Path defined by Buddha is “right belief.” What do you think is the “right belief”
Siddhartha pursues in this chapter? Explain
Name: _________________________________________________________________________ Date ____________
PART TWO: Chapter 6: With the Child-People
NOTE: Determine if Siddhartha accomplishes the second part of the Eight-Fold Path: Right Resolve.
Vocabulary:
1. besieged – attacked
2. betokened – gave evidence to
3. compel – drive or urge with force
4. copious – abundant
5. corpus – body
6. follies – foolish acts or ideas
7. insatiably - not being satisfied
8. nullified – made valueless
9. privations – acts lacking in what is needed to
survive
10. prudent – cautious, sensible
11. rebuked – sharply reprimanded
12. stylus – a pointed instrument used for writing in
wax
13. subordinated – placed in a lower rank
14. supple – flexible
15. vexation – irritation, annoyance
16. vouchsafed – granted as a privilege or special
favor
Questions:
1. The following conversation occurs between Siddhartha and the merchant Kamaswami: He handed him a piece of
paper and a pen, and Siddhartha wrote and returned the paper. Kamaswami read: “Writing is good, thinking is better.
Intelligence is good, but patience is better.” (Pg. 35) What does this tell us about Siddhartha?
2. Support the following statement: Siddhartha is a good businessman, even though he seems to be only playing the
game of business.
3. Using the Venn diagram below, show the similarities and differences between Siddhartha, Kamala and Gotama.
Siddhartha
Kamala
Kamaswami
4. How does Siddhartha treat individuals (rich vs. poor, etc.)
5. What prediction about the future does Kamala make?
6. What does Siddhartha mean when he says that Kamala is like him and cannot feel love?
7. The second goal of the Eight-Fold Path is “right resolve.” What do you think is the “right resolve” that Siddhartha
pursues in this chapter?
Name: _________________________________________________________________________ Date ____________
PART TWO: Chapter 7: Samsara
NOTE: Read this chapter and determine if Siddhartha accomplishes the third part of the Eight-Fold Path–Right Speech.
Vocabulary
1. ardent – passionate
2. avarice – insatiable greed
3. aversion – a desire to avoid something
4. covetousness – the act of enviously wanting
5. discernment – recognition
6. disputations – arguments
7. elicited – evoked
8. foretaste – an indication
9. incited – aroused to action
10. indolence – laziness
11. lulling – soothing
12. malady – disease or disorder
13.
14.
15.
16.
17.
18.
19.
20.
21.
22.
23.
24.
peevish – fretful or huffy
permeating – seeping through the pores of
pliant – easily influenced
ravenous – voracious; extremely hungry
sloth – laziness
squander – to spend wastefully or foolishly
surfeited – excessively indulged
taciturn – reserved; not inclined to talk
tepid – halfhearted
titillating – exciting pleasurably
vis-à-vis – in comparison to
wellspring – a continual source
Questions
1. What habits has Siddhartha retained from his home life and early experiences?
2. What qualities of the child-like people did Siddhartha take-on? (Give specific examples.)
3. Even while Siddhartha gains wealth and lives a life of pleasure, what is the undercurrent that causes him to be
different from other people? (Think about why he envies ordinary people.)
4. What is the “sloth [that] had entered Siddhartha’s soul”? (Pg. 42) What is the cause of this “sickness?”
5. How has Siddhartha’s attitude toward other people changed?
6. Why does Siddhartha enjoy gambling so much?
7. How is Siddhartha’s attempt to show his disapproval for riches an example of irony?
8. Using textual evidence, support the idea that the songbird in the golden cage that Siddhartha dreams about is a
symbol for Siddhartha’s soul.
9. Samsara is the Hindu word for the idea that the world is constantly repeating itself. What is Siddhartha saying about
reincarnation in the following passage?
“Weren’t they playing a game that had no end? Was it necessary to live for this? No, it was not necessary! The
name of this game was Samsara, a game for children, which was enjoyable to play perhaps once, twice, or ten
times–but again and again for ever and ever? Siddhartha then knew that the game was over and that he cold no
longer play it. He felt shivers run over his body inside him something had died.” (Pg. 45)
8. What does Kamala do when she learns of Siddhartha’s disappearance?
9.
The third teaching of the Eight-Fold Path to end desire is Right-Speech. What does Siddhartha learn in this
chapter that helps him progress toward this goal?
Name: _________________________________________________________________________ Date ____________
PART TWO: Chapter 8: By the River
NOTE: Read this chapter and determine if Siddhartha accomplishes the fourth part of the Eight-Fold Path–Right Conduct.
Vocabulary
1. disconsolateness – sadness
2. dismal – depressing
3. flaccid – limp; lacking sturdiness
4. fortified – strengthened
5. gourmands – people who love to eat and drink
6. hindered – held back
7. imbibed – absorbed
8. imbued – penetrated
9. incarnation – embodiment of a spirit
10. invincible – incapable of being conquered
loathing – extreme disgust
malevolent – spiteful
oblivion – a state of being completely unaware
rejuvenated – refreshed
surfeiting – an excessive amount
transitory – lasting only a short time; temporary
voluptuaries – people whose main goal in life is to
indulge their sensual appetites
18. yearning – longing; wanting
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.
16.
17.
Questions
1. How does Siddhartha feel at the beginning of this chapter? Why does he feel this way?
2. Define “om.”
a.
b.
3. How does the word “om” save Siddhartha’s life?
4. How does the sleep by the river help Siddhartha?
5. What do you think is the significance of Govinda’s reemergence in Siddhartha’s life at this point in the story?
6. State a generalization about life found in the following passage:
“…you have run across just such a wanderer, in such shoes, in such a garment. Remember, my dear friend: the
world of created forms is transitory; transitory…are are garments, and the way we do our hair, and our hair and
body themselves.” (Pg. 50)
(Hint: the word “transitory” is extremely important to understanding this quote’s meaning.)
7. Why does Siddhartha believe that “now he had truly become a child-person.”? (Pg. 51)
8. What does he think about becoming a child again when he is old enough to have gray hair?
9. One of the characteristics of oral tradition is the repetition of stories and ideas to help the listener remember important
details. Find an example of repetition in this chapter which supports the fact that the novel Siddhartha is written with
the same techniques used in ancient storytelling.
10. List the reasons Siddhartha was unable to get rid of his Self when he was a Brahman.
11. Explain the meaning of the river. What do you think it symbolizes for Siddhartha? (Remember that he crosses the
river as a young man to experience a life of the senses and leaves behind a life of meditation.)
12. The fourth of the Eight-Fold Path to end desire is right conduct. What is the “right conduct” that Siddhartha pursues in
this chapter?
Name: _________________________________________________________________________ Date ____________
PART TWO: Chapter 9: The Ferryman
NOTE: Read this chapter and determine if Siddhartha accomplishes the fifth part of the Eight-Fold Path–Right
Occupation.
Vocabulary
1. admonished – warned
2. constitute – make up or compose
3. countenance – face
4. crystalline – very clean and sparkling
5. ensued – followed
6. piteous – arousing pity
7. precocious – early in development
8. premonition – a feeling that something is about to
happen
9. pyre – a combustible heap used for the ritualistic
burning of a body
10. recount – tell in detail
11. redoubled – made twice as great in amount
Questions
1. What does Siddhartha’s inner voice tell him about the river?
2. Why is Vasudeva a good listener?
3. What has Siddhartha already learned from the river? Find an example of foreshadowing in Vasudeva’s conversation
with Siddhartha.
4. One of the major themes of this novel is that “there is no such thing as time” (58). Support the belief that Siddhartha
comes to understand that life is a complete entity, like the river, and not a series of events broken up by time.
5. What overall theme is stated in the following passage?
“No, there were no teachings that a person who truly sought and wanted to find could accept. But the one who
had already found could approve of any teachings, every path and goal…” (Pg. 60)
6. What does Siddhartha gain by Kamala’s death?
7. How does her death reinforce his belief that time does not exist? What does Kamala observe about Siddhartha before
she dies?
8. Describe young Siddhartha.
8. The fifth teaching of the Eight-Fold Path to end desire is right occupation. What is the “right occupation” that
Siddhartha pursues in this chapter?
Name: _________________________________________________________________________ Date ____________
PART TWO: Chapter 10: The Son
NOTE: Read this chapter and determine if Siddhartha accomplishes the sixth part of the Eight-Fold Path–Right Effort.
Vocabulary
1. atoned – made amends for
6. reciprocate – give back in return
2. averted – turned aside or away
7. ruse – trick
3. caprices – inclinations to do things impulsively and
8. sullying – soiling, defiling
9. vocation - a divine call to spirituality
without forethought
4. forbearing – being patient
5. presumptuous – overstepping bounds
Siddhartha
Kamala
Questions
1. Using the Venn diagram, show the
similarities and differences between
Siddhartha, Kamala and young
Siddhartha.
2. What does Siddhartha experience for the first time after
the arrival of his son?
Young Siddhartha
3. What does the following message from the river tell Siddhartha?
“Water wants to join water, youth wants to join youth…” (Pg. 64)
4. Why does he not listen to the message?
5. How is Siddhartha punishing his son?
6. Vasudeva knows that sons must learn from their own experiences, not from the experiences of their fathers. How
does Vesudeva explain this to Siddhartha?
7. How does the presence of Siddhartha’s son help make Siddhartha “completely like ordinary people”?
8. Why does Siddhartha’s son leave? What does he take?
9. Why does Siddhartha continue his search for his son even after he realizes the boy is probably safe and does not
need any help?
10. Why does Siddhartha eventually return to the river?
11. The sixth teaching of the Eight-Fold Path to end desire is right effort. What is the “right effort” that Siddhartha pursues
in this chapter?
Name: _________________________________________________________________________ Date ____________
PART TWO: Chapter 11: Om
NOTE: Read this chapter and determine if Siddhartha accomplishes the seventh part of the Eight-Fold Path–Right
Contemplation.
Vocabulary
1. accord – agreement
2. benevolence – kindness
3. fruition – realization; accomplishment
4. serene – quiet or calm
5. tenacity – toughness
Questions
1. After Siddhartha loses his son, he becomes more sympathetic to ordinary people and their struggles in life. Explain.
2. What overall theme for this story is stated in Siddhartha’s analysis of what separates the “wise man” from ordinary
people? (Pg. ____)
3. Describe the change Siddhartha notices in Vasudeva when he confesses to the old man how painful it is for him to
see fathers and their sons together.
4. How does Siddhartha know that “his Self had merged into unity”?
5. What do you think is going to happen to Vasudeva when he goes into the woods for the “last” time?
6. The seventh teaching of the eight path is the “right contemplation.” What is the “right contemplation that Siddhartha
pursues in this chapter?
Name: _________________________________________________________________________ Date ____________
PART TWO: Chapter 12: Govinda
NOTE: Read this chapter and determine if Siddhartha accomplishes the last part of the Eight-Fold Path–Right Ecstasy.
Vocabulary
1. engendered – generated; produced
2. illusory – deceptive
3. impelled – urged forward
4. sanctity – sacredness; godliness
Questions
1. What advice does Siddhartha offer Govinda about seeking?
2. Govinda asks Siddhartha for his thoughts or doctrine. What generalization about life does Siddhartha offer Govinda
on the following topics?
 Wisdom –

Truth –

Time –
3. One of the major overall themes of this story is stated in Siddhartha’s love for the stone. Support Siddhartha’s belief
that “love seems to me to be the most important thing of all.” (Pg. _____)
4. The teaching of Gotama forbids his followers from binding themselves to earthly love. It is a teaching of Christianity
that God is loving. Siddhartha explains that love is the most important thing in the world. Explain how Siddhartha’s
statement is not in contradiction to Gotama’s teaching.
5. What gift does Siddhartha give his childhood friend before Govinda continues on his way?
6. The eighth teaching of the eight-fold path is the “right ecstasy.” What is the “right ecstasy that Siddhartha shares with
Govinda at the end of the novel?