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Free Siddhartha Essays: Significance of the River

The Significance of the River in Siddhartha

In the book Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse the significance of the river is displayed throughout the experiences that Siddhartha has next to the river and the things that by listening to the sound he comes to understand. Siddhartha is learning something from the moment he rides the ferry to the time when Govinda lays on the ground with tears flowing uncontrollably.

Siddhartha admits to having no money to pay for the voyage, but the Ferryman says that friendship is payment enough, and takes him into town. After leaving town, Siddhartha returns to the river where had met the Ferryman earlier. Intrigued by the river’s beauty and silent wisdom, Siddhartha decides to stay by the river. Siddhartha soon meets the Ferryman Vasuveda, the same man who took him across the river earlier. Siddhartha offers to be Vasuveda’s apprentice, an offer that the Ferryman graciously accepts. The two grow together as Siddhartha begins to learn the river’s wisdom, and soon Siddhartha begins to emulate Vasuveda’s demeanor, expressing a contented peace in the routine of daily life. Years pass. One day, the two Ferrymen hear that the Buddha is dying. Kamala, on hearing the news as well, travels with her son to be near Goatama. As she passes near the river, she is bitten by a snake and dies, but not before Vasuveda takes her to Siddhartha.

After Kamala dies, Siddhartha keeps his son with him by the river. The boy, though, refuses to accept Siddhartha as his father and consequently does nothing he is told. Many months pass, but the boy remains intransigent. Eventually the boy runs away. Vasuveda tells Siddhartha to let him go, but Siddhartha follows him. Upon reaching the town, Siddhartha recalls his own experiences there and admits to himself what he knew all along, that he could not help the boy. Siddhartha feels a great sorrow at this loss, and the happiness he had known as a Ferryman leaves him. Vasuveda soon arrives and leads the despondent Siddhartha to back to the river.

The pain of losing his son was long lasting for Siddhartha. It enabled him, however, to identify with ordinary people more than ever before. Though Siddhartha was beginning to understand what wisdom really is, the thought of son did not leave him. One day he sets off in search of his son, but stops as he heard the river laughing at him.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and the Repercussions of Overindulging Children

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and the Repercussions of Overindulging Children

Mary Shelley teaches us all well the long range effects of spoiling a child to the extreme in her novel Frankenstein. Set in the mid-19th century, the novel details the life of Victor Frankenstein and the monster he created. However, it also serves as a model of the ultimate repercussions of overindulging children. This is an issue too few parents bother with today. As their own parents did their best to provide well and ensure a better life for them, today’s parents are of same mind, regardless if they had a “lacking” childhood or not. Consequently, their own children are given the best clothes and toys, and are sent to the best daycare centers, pre-schools, schools and colleges. Like Victor, many grow into self-centered,self-serving adults. Victor, as the first child, spent the first years of his life as an only child,born into an aristocratic family and showered with affection.”I remained for several years their only child … [T]hey [his parents] seemed to draw inexhaustible stores of affection from a very mine of love to bestow … upon me” (Shelley 16).

He is a boy who wanted for nothing, and who was wholly and completely indulged, allowed to do as he pleased. “[T]hey [his parents] were not tyrants to rule our lot according to their caprice, but the agents and creators of all the many delights which we enjoyed” (Shelley 19). Victor is more than the apple of their eye; he is the center of their world. “I was their plaything and their idol … whose future lot … was in their hands … as they fulfilled their duties towards me … I was guided [by a belief] … that all seemed but one train of enjoyment to me … I was their only care.”(Shelley 16)

All of this, while seemingly idyllic, gave Victor a sense of godlike importance, “bestowed on them [his parents] by Heaven,” (Shelley 16) like a gift from God. Everything in his life revolves around him, and the only thing that really matters in the world as he perceives it, is himself and his happiness. Even when his parents adopt a beautiful, young orphan girl, Elizabeth Lavenza,he interprets it as an action intended to entertain and satisfy him. His mother, Caroline, reinforces this belief when she announces, “I have a pretty present for my Victor”(Shelley 18), and he willingly accepts her as his new toy, ” mine to protect love and cherish .

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