Siddhartha Discussion Questions

Instructor: Jason Lineberger

Jason has 20 years of education experience including 14 years of teaching college literature.

Herman Hesse's novel 'Siddhartha' packs a lot of ideas in a slim volume. Once your students understand the plot, these questions will help them come to an understanding of the philosophy that undergirds this book.


Siddhartha takes place in India around 600 BC. The title character grows up in a wealthy family, but he is unsatisfied with his life and leaves home with his best friend to seek enlightenment. They spend several years with a group of ascetic monks, holy men who have learned to live with very little food or material possessions. Siddhartha's friend goes on to be a pupil of Gautama Buddha, while Siddhartha learns the ways of commerce, wealth, and love. Siddhartha eventually leaves his wordly life, achieves enlightenment by contemplating a river, and reunites with his friend in the end. It's a book about wisdom, enlightenment, and ideas that can be hard for young adults to grasp, such as the flexible nature of time or the unimportance of one's physical body. The questions below should guide your students to a better understanding of some of the book's big ideas.

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