Siddhartha/ Into the wild
People often find the need to seek for the meaning of life. They do this after realizing that there has to be more to life, than what they are currently experiencing. Individuals use different means to find out the meaning of life. Some seek enlightenment, and they travel on journeys, which they hope will give them the experiences and wisdom they need. This is the case of the main characters in Siddhartha and Into the Wild. In the story of Siddhartha, by Hermann Hesse, the main character, Siddhartha, leaves his family in search of an enlightened life. He encounters many people and he has many experiences. He sometimes diverts from his quest but he finds his way back. In the end, he manages to find what he is looking for, after which he lives a contented life. In the story Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer, the main character, Christopher McCandles chooses to travel with no clear direction. He does not seem to have a specific agenda in mind. His story does not have a good ending, since he ends up dead. Siddhartha and McCandles show some similarities in their character, though they are also different in many ways
Both characters experience a life of affluence and they live comfortably before embarking on their journey. Siddhartha comes from a wealthy and loving family and he has good friends (Bloom and Hobby 199). He does not lack anything in his life, but he feels that his current lifestyle has no meaning. He discovers that having material wealth does not mean that one is living his life’s purpose. He decides to embark on a challenging journey, for he does not know what lies ahead of him. Both characters are determined and persistent in their quest. They are willing to go through with their journey despite the challenges they encounter. They are able to overcome distractions along their path. Siddhartha becomes distracted when he starts earning money and living his previous life. However, he realizes that he does not want to be held down by earthly pressures, and he decides to continue with his journey, abandoning his wife and son in the process. McCandles meets an electrician on his journey, who tries to convince him to forego his plans. Although the advice is wise, he does not listen to the man and he chooses to continue with his journey. They both sacrifice something so that they can achieve their purpose. McCandles donates money to a charity organization. He leaves his qualifications, abandons his home, car, and his possessions. Siddhartha gives all his worldly possessions. They both abandon their families and friends.
The characters are also similar in that they let other people in their lives as they go along with their journey. These people enhance their experiences in different ways. For instance, the ferryman helps Siddhartha acquire his state of enlightenment. Both characters experience challenges along the way. McCandles suffers from hunger and he has run-ins with the law. He experiences a heat wave, and he almost drowns in the river. He goes for days without food and he has to hunt and eat wild fruits to survive. Siddhartha’s main challenge begins by seeking the blessings of his father, who has a hard time letting his son go. The challenges serve different purposes for the characters. The challenges are a way for the characters to develop endurance and learn. Siddhartha is able to confront these challenges and incorporate them in his life, using them as learning tools (Bloom and Hobby 198).
The characters are different in several ways. For instance, Siddhartha involves his parents by informing them of his intention. He convinces his father on the reason for taking the journey and he seeks his blessings. McCandles does things differently. He does not inform his family where he is going and he does not keep in contact with them, although he keeps in contact with the strangers he meets along the way (Spurr and Cameron 245). The characters are also different in the way they structure their journey. Siddhartha begins his journey by having an idea of how he is going to achieve what he is searching. He follows and befriends people who seem to have what he is searching. This makes him realize a positive end to his journey. McCandles does not have a clear idea of where he is headed.
The two characters have a common purpose, as they seek to find a meaningful life. They are both from wealthy families, and they choose to abandon their wealth for the sake of accomplishing their goals. They experience challenges that build their resolve and help them in different ways. They also have some difference, especially in the way they treat their families and in the clear direction of their purpose. These characters show that in some cases, one has to be willing to make sacrifices and learn from the challenges that he or she experiences, so that he can achieve his or her purpose.
Bloom, Harold and Blake Hobby. Enslavement and Emancipation. New York, NY: Infobase Publishing, 2010. Print
Ebert, Roger. Roger Ebert’s Four Star Reviews–1967-2007. Kansas, MS: Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2008. Print
Hesse, Hermann. Siddhartha. New York, NY: New Directions Publishing, 2010. Print
Kraukauer, Jon. Into the Wild. London, United Kingdom: Pan Macmillan UK, 2007. Print
Spurr, Barry and Lloyd Cameron. Excel HSC Standard English. Australia: Pascal Press, 2004. Print