Posted: June 19th, 2021
Every individual’s life is a journey. There are different stages in life that one goes through and by experiencing these different stages of life one becomes wiser. In the novel, Siddhartha and The Alchemist the protagonist Siddhartha and Santiago both go through man different stages in life which made them grow, learn and transform into wiser people. Both protagonists go on a journey which is eventually the same but the purpose of journey is different. Similarly, both protagonist struggles through their journey to become a wiser people. However, the end result for both protagonists was the same which is discovering themselves. Both the father discourages them for leaving their house and going on their journey.
Siddhartha the protagonist in Siddhartha is the son of the respected and wealthiest Brahmin. However he is not happy even though he has everything he could ever ask for. Siddhartha realized that he made everyone else happy but that he himself wasn’t. He also got the feeling that he had already learned the best of what his teachers had to teach but it still wasn’t enough. He still wasn’t satisfied. “Tomorrow morning, my friend Siddhartha is going to join the Samanas. He is going to become Samana” (Hesse, 9). . Samanas are monks who go around begging for food and they are known for their spirituality.
Siddhartha thinks of joining the Samanas as he wanted to become spiritually knowledgeable and get rid of the “self”, which is a sense of greed and jealousy. But before he could go join Samanas he has to go ask his father’s permission to let him go. When Siddhartha goes to see his father to ask for permission his father was unhappy with Siddhartha’s decision because he wanted Siddhartha to stay home, take care of the house as well as take over the Brahmins position. But however, Siddhartha was not willing to take no for an answer and said “I will stand here and wait, you will grow tired Siddhartha, I will grow tired, you will fall asleep Siddhartha, I will not fall asleep, you will die Siddhartha, I will die” (Hesse, 11) which shows his passionate desire for enlightenment.
The father and son disagreement is also in Alchemist but it is less intense than the disagreement between Siddhartha and his father. Santiago is a young boy who decided that he did not want to become a priest but a shepherd. His father tries to explain Santiago to think again about his decision of traveling by saying “Among us, the only ones who travels are the Shepherds” “well then I’ll be a shepherd” (Coelho, 9). While going against what was wanted of his parents, his father showed acceptance of his decision to become a shepherd by giving him three ancient Spanish gold coins. Santiago’s life as a shepherd and his journey started from that day.
Santiago was comfortable with being a shepherd. He knew how to be a shepherd; he trusted the sheep and the sheep trusted him too. But being a shepherd did not truly make Santiago happy. One day Santiago was taking shelter with his sheep’s under the old church. He has the same dream every time he falls asleep under the sycamore tree that grows out of the ruin of the church. Santiago was so driven by the reoccurring of the same dream and eventually Santiago sold his flock of sheep and embarked on his great journey to the pyramids. Throughout the novel, each protagonist showed their strong will to go on journey even if it meant going against their family.
The Protagonist in both novels faces obstacles along their journey but these obstacles made them stronger and wiser. On his journey to get answers for his question and reach Nirvana. Siddhartha struggles, starves, get burned and sacrifices his easy life and chooses this hard path just in order to gain Nirvana (enlightenment). As he leaves home to become Samana, he realizes that the path he has chosen is not the right one.” It was the self, the character and to rid myself of the self, to conquer it, but I could not conquer it. I could only deceive it…..I am Siddhartha; and about nothing in the world do I know less than about myself, about Siddhartha” (Hesse, 38).
Siddhartha struggles not knowing what to do, where to go and who he was. Siddhartha was trapped in a cycle of losing and regaining his self. “You have observed well, you have seen everything. You have seen Siddhartha, the son of Brahmin. Who left his home to become a Samana and who has been Samana for three years. But now, I have left that path and came into this city, and the first one I met, even before I had entered the city, was you. To say this, I have come to you, oh Kamala! You are the first woman whom Siddhartha is not addressing with his eyes turned to the ground. Never again will I love my eyes when I meet a beautiful women” (Hesse, 53).
Things suddenly changes after meeting Kamala. Siddhartha starts getting involved in the things that he was once against which are pleasure and money. He struggles and works hard in-order to impress Kamala. In the same way, Santiago faces numerous obstacles along his journey as well. On his journey when Santiago arrives in tangier, he meets a boy who is his age who speaks Spanish and offered to help him get to the pyramids. When they were about to leave the bar owner grabs Santiago and tells him something. “The boy push the owner aside and pulls Santiago outside with him” and tells him that “the owner wanted Santiago’s money” (Coelho, 37). But the owner of the bar was trying to warn Santiago about his new friend. Santiago ends up getting tricked and losing all his money.
He later realize the bar owner was trying help him. After that incident he ends up working at a crystal shop in order to earn money for his trip. Another obstacle he faces is when there was a battle going on in the desert. Some armies blocked him and the alchemist from going. The alchemist told the armies that Santiago is someone” who understand the force of nature” (Coelho, 163). By listening to what alchemist said. The armies put Santiago on test. If he fails they would kill him. Both protagonists go through a lot of obstacles on their journey. Having the ability to succeed to your personal legend, and find self-discovery allows people to open their minds and see the world for what it really is and how everything has a purpose in life.
On his path to self-discovery, Siddhartha, had to confront many challenges, such as leaving his family, friends, and loved ones as he kept going on his journey. Siddhartha overcame these problems through introspection and help from others Siddhartha couldn’t figure out how he could find Nirvana (enlightenment). He understood it when his son left him to follow his own dreams. “His face resembles that of another person, whom he had once known and loved and even feared. It resembles the face of his father, the Brahmin. He remember how once, as a youth, he had compelled his father to let him go and join the ascetics, how he had taken leave of him, how he had gone and never returned…….had not his father died long time ago, alone, without having seen his son again?” (Hesse, 131).
He realizes that he wouldn’t have been able to stop his son just; like how his father wasn’t able to stop from leaving. Santiago’s dream was to make it to the pyramids, but the adventure that he found himself on in order to get to those pyramids taught him more than he ever thought. “He thought many roads he have travelled, and of the strange way god have chosen to show him his treasure. If he hasn’t believed in the significance of recurrent dreams, he would not have met the gypsy women, the king, the thief or…” (Coelho, 165). He learns many things on the way to find his treasure. Therefore, his journey becomes successful as he finds treasure.
While staying with the crystal shop owner he learns that “every blessing ignored becomes a curse” (Hesse, 58). And also learns that it is necessary to adopt different methods in order to succeed in life. Siddhartha and Santiago come across things that came in their heart which made them wiser. Throughout the novel, each protagonist shows that their life is a journey, not a destination, and that the real treasure is in the journey itself. They showed strong determination which resulted in success of their journey. Each protagonist faces numerous obstacles which made them grow wiser and they discover their true selves.
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