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Cry, the Beloved Country

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The Hobbit

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Siddhartha Enrichment Extravaganza

Hesse's Siddhartha is a novel steeped in Eastern religious thought and philosophy. Folks in the U.S. are usually ignorant of these traditions and harbor many misconceptions about them. Hopefully the links below will remedy any you may have and aid your appreciation of the novel.

Siddhartha is also notable for its Jungian symbolism. Hesse was quite influenced by the work of C.G. Jung, and so I've included some links to sites about him to help you grok (love that word!) this particular aspect of the novel.

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Above is a visual representation of Ganesh, one of Hinduism's many deities. If you are interested in learning more about Hinduism (the religious background of Siddhartha before he leaves his family to seek a new spiritual truth), check out the links below.

Nine Questions (and Answers) about Hinduism

Veda and Dharma: Hindu Thought

Dharma and Philosophy

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Siddhartha also encounters Buddhism in his spiritual journey--in fact, he meets the Buddha himself. Historically, the Buddha's name was Siddhartha Gautama (or Gotama) but Hesse has created another character of the same name, who accepts Buddha's achievement of Nirvana but nevertheless seeks his own path to enlightenment rather than follow Buddha's teaching. If you are interested in learning more about Buddhism, check out the links below.

Buddhism 101

Essentials of Buddhism

Buddhism Hootenanny

Carl Gustav Jung wrote the book (in fact, he wrote several) on the importance of symbols in our everyday lives. We use them in our myths and stories, and they show up in popular culture all the time--which is not surprising, since they are manifestations of archetypes present in our collective unconscious, and our very dreams are full of them. Whether you buy Jung's psychological ideas or not, the concept of archetypes is an important one for you to grok, since literary (if not Jung's primordial) archetypes abound in almost every novel. Thus I implore you to check out the first link "fer shur"--the rest of them are for the sheer thrill of erudition. In particular, you might try the Keirsey Character Sorter after you have a good grasp of archetypal patterns; it does a pretty good job analyzing your archetypal character. Have fun!

Archetypes According to Jung (thou shalt be tested)

Keirsey Character Sorter

Forever Jung (sorry, I couldn't resist)

Carl Jung Biography

Dealing with Symbols

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