There are a lot of pieces about something inside Siddhartha dying or changing. In chapter 7, Siddhartha talks about how his new life makes hime feel. "Property, ownership, and riches had captured him in the end. No longer were they just games to him, trifles; they had become chains and burdens" (Hesse 67). He is sad and he isn't doing well anymore, because the things that were meant to give him pressure are just making him feel worse. That's quite a commentary on the worth of physical items. He adds a bit more to that in the next chapter. "He was filled with antipathy, filled with misery, filled with death; there was nothing left in the world that could tempt him, console him, give him pleasure" (Hesse 73). That is very sad, but it goes with the theme of sadness from his life of wealth. Then Siddhartha is transformed. I was waiting for this, but he doesn't actually become enlightened until later, he is just saved. And he decides to learn from the river and the old ferryman. "One who understood the water and its secrets, it seemed to him, would understand many other things as well, many secrets, all secrets" (Hesse 85). This begins the learning-from-the-river theme. I like the river. Rivers are great. And Siddhartha was going to drown in it, but decides to learn from it instead. Now that's a metaphor.
There is a lot in there about the river. The river represents how much life changes, how people go through many different appearances but remain the same, somehow. And the river is also a good advisor. "'Ask the river, my friend! Listen to its laughter! Or do you really believe that you committed your own follies so as to spare your son from committing them?'" (Hesse 101). Oh yeah, Siddhartha and Kamala had a son. He's really annoying, but I suppose he helped teach Siddhartha to listen to the river more. Or at least trust its wisdom. The river helped Siddhartha get over the boy and allow him to go on his way. I really didn't like him so it was no great loss in my opinion. Siddhartha was very upset, but that's understandable. Anyway, the river does more with Siddhartha later. It teaches him how Vasudeva is enlightened. "All became the river, all of them striving as river to reach their goal, longingly, eagerly, suffering, and the river's voice ran out full of longing, full of burning sorrow, full of unquenchable desire" (Hesse 113). Siddhartha has learned how to listen to the river and see what it means in relation to life. And that is good for everyone who's reading it too, even if Siddhartha doesn't think doctrines will help a person get anywhere. I think that listening to Siddhartha listen to the river is some powerful imagery and a powerful way to look at things. Different is good. And Govinda gets enlightened too, by the river and by Siddhartha. Well, maybe he's not enlightened. It's incredibly unclear. Anyway, he kisses Siddhartha's forehead and learns some stuff that we can also benefit from. "...he saw other faces, many of them, a long series, a flowing river of faces, by the hundreds, by the thousands, all of them coming and fading away, and yet all of them appearing to be there at once, all of them constantly changing, being renewed, and all of them at the same time Siddhartha" (Hesse 125). Govinda is maybe seeing all of Siddhartha's past lives, and understanding how everything works all of a sudden. I think that it is just very nice that Govinda is seeing this different river by the watery river and is being enlightened by it the same way that Siddhartha was. And even if you're not Hindu you can learn about having an old soul or past lives or what have you. It was a very nice conclusion to the story.