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Siddhartha VS. Fahrenheit 451 Essay

Siddhartha and Fahrenheit 451 are very similar in some ways and very different in others this essay will talk about some of these similarities and some of the differences. In order to understand the two books we must first write a detailed summary of them. Once that is done then we can get into the similarities of the two good books, and finally the differences of Siddhartha and Fahrenheit 451. In Siddhartha, the main character Siddhartha decides to leave his family, along with his best friend Govinda, in order to seek enlightenment. They travel to the woods to find the Samanas, a group of people who decide to live without property. During the three years with the Samanas they learn a lot. One day they hear that there is a man who is said to have achieved Nirvana. They take the leave form the Samanas in order to pursue Gotama, the Enlightened One.

When they get there they hear one of his speeches, Afterwards Siddhartha confronts Gotama to ask why his speech did not tell him how to achieve Nirvana. Soon after the confrontation Govinda announces that he is going to stay and become one of Gotama’s followers, while Siddhartha decides that he is going to pursue his own path towards enlightenment. Govinda is not happy with this but he had already made his oath to serve loyally under Gotama. Siddhartha leaves the town and goes back through the woods where he encounters a ferryman. The ferryman whose name is Vasudeva lets Siddhartha spend the night in his hut and then gives him a change of clothes to wear into town. Siddhartha goes to the nearby town and there he meets Kamala, a local courtesan. He then proceeds to ask Kamala if she can teach him about love. AT first she laughs at him and said that for her to teach him he must get some money.

Before Siddhartha leaves he asks Kamala if he could exchange a poem for a kiss. She agrees and after that was over she sent Siddhartha to the rich merchant, Kamaswami. When Siddhartha asks to learn the way of the merchant Kamaswami does not turn him down. Siddhartha now rich again and learning the ways of love and trade believes that he is happy for a change, but some part of him is still missing. After a while Siddhartha decides to leave his merchant life in order to keep chasing his dream. He leaves Kamala and Kamaswami behind and goes back to the woods. There he goes to the river where he looks down upon himself and believing that his life was over. He decides to drown himself for it would be the quickest way to go, but something talks him out of it. Instead he falls asleep by the base of a tree.

When he wakes up he is astonished to find his best friend Govinda asleep across from him. He and Govinda talk for a while when Govinda said that he needed to catch up with his group of monks that were spreading the word of Gotama. Siddhartha then leaves and follows the river back to the Vasudava’s, the ferryman, house. While there he asks Vasudeva if he can teach him the ways of the ferryman. Vasudeva agrees. They begin by telling Siddhartha that in order to become a ferryman he must firs learn to listen to the river.

When Siddhartha and Vasudeva are ferrying people across they come across Govinda and his group of monks again. The monks say that Gotama is dying and has called all his monks back to him. It is in one such time that Siddhartha and Kamala meet up again. This time Kamala has a son with her. Kamala has been bitten by a snake and Siddhartha wants to help her. He tries and tries but nothing works and she eventually dies. At the very end of the story Govinda and Siddhartha are reunited for the last time. Govinda now seeing Siddhartha for the first time in a while believes that Siddhartha has done it, he had achieved Nirvana.

In Fahrenheit 451 the main character is a man known as Guy Montag. He is a fireman. Being a fireman does not mean that they fight fires, it means that they burn books that the people in their city try to keep hidden. On the way home from on hard day at work, Montag meets a young girl named Clarisse. She is a peculiar girl for she asks a lot of questions that have to do with nothing besides just random things. In one of these questions she asks if it were true that firemen actually fought fires instead of burning books. Montag does not know how to answer. He walks along until he gets to Clarisse’s house. The final question that she asks Montag is the strangest of them all. It is “are you happy”. Montag goes home pondering that final question. He gets ready for bed when he accidentally kicks a sleeping pill bottle on the floor. After realizing that it is empty he quickly calls the emergency room. They send someone over to help with Montag’s wife Mildred.

They finish with her and tell Montag that they get about ten of these calls every night. He keeps going to work and talking with Clarisse. It was during one of these talks that she rubbed a flower under her chin. When Montag asks what it meant she says that it is to see if a person is in love or not. Montag goes to work one day and is attacked by the mechanical hound. After he gets away he says that the mechanical hound has done that three times and it would only act that way if someone had programmed it. Later on in the book he comes home and sees that Mildred is watching the news. It was saying that a young 17 year old girl was hit by a car and killed. Montag realizes that the girl was Clarisse. One day he is at the park and sees a man by the name of Faber. Montag learns that Faber was a college professor but quit because they had burned all of the books. Faber offers Montag his address. One night while the women friends of Mildred’s are over he goes to Faber’s house.

There he comes up with his plan to reprint books. He also says that they should plant books in the fireman’s houses. Faber didn’t listen so in order to get him to listen, Montag starts to rip the pages out of the bible. Faber gives Montag an earpiece that allows them to talk. While back at work the firemen get a call that someone has books in their house. Montag is deep in conversation with Beatty the fire chief that only after they stop does he realize that the house they stopped in front of is his own. Beatty tells Montag that he is under arrest and he has to burn all of his books that he had with a flamethrower. After he finishes torching the books Montag gets irritation in the ear with the communication device.

Beatty sees this and takes the earpiece. Now that Montag is frustrated he decides to torch Beatty. After that he is attacked by the mechanical hound. He kills the beast and gets away. Unfortunately for him every channel is playing a tape that tells people to be on the watch for Montag. While at Faber’s house He had given Montag some directions. Montag now on the run follow those directions. He meets up with a group of refugees that are all intelligent. They decide to leave for the city to reprint the books that they have memorized the city is leveled by bombs. They decide that it is now best to reprint those books so that the survivors have a sense of dignity again.

Now that you understand the basic outline for the two books here are a few similarities between them. In both books the main character finds teachers that help him along the path to their destiny. In Siddhartha these teachers like Kamaswami, Kamala, and even his best friend Govinda. In Fahrenheit 451 Montag’s teachers are Clarisse, Faber, and even the group of outcast college professors. Another similarity between the two is that in both books the main character has to confront a river. In Fahrenheit 451, Montag must get in the river to help wash away his scent from the hounds and to help him get away. In Siddhartha, Siddhartha confronts the river three separate times. The first time is when he must cross to get to the town. The second time is when he faces a life and death scenario. The last time is when he is told by Vasudeva to learn from the river. These are just some of the similarities between Fahrenheit 451 and Siddhartha.

There are many differences between these books. Some of these differences we will talk about now. In Siddhartha, the main character start out with a path set for him. While in Fahrenheit 451 Montag does not yet have a particular goal in mind. In Fahrenheit 451, Montag is on the run and he is being chased by a bunch a law enforcement officials. In Siddhartha, Siddhartha is not being chased or pursued by anyone or anything. He is simply making his own way throughout the universe. One last difference between the two is that in Siddhartha, the main character does not have to make a new friend to help him along the way, he already has Govinda. Whereas in Fahrenheit 451 Montag must find someone to replace Clarisse after she dies. That someone was Faber after they meet. These are just a few of the differences between the two.

Now you have the basic information between the two books, the similarities and differences between them as well. These two books are not that different from each other. They both are written in a fictional setting and both are enjoyable. These two books will be good reading for just about anyone.


Hesse, Herman. Siddhartha. New York: New Direction, 1951. Print Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1967. Print.

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