Demian: The Story of Emil Sinclair’s Youth by Hermann Hesse

Demian: The Story of Emil Sinclair’s Youth by Hermann Hesse

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In the story, Demian, Sinclair states that people help themselves without the help of others in such matters. When a person gets help from teachers, mentors or advisors, this support is not meant to put a person down, but to motivate and help move them along in life. People helped Sinclair get through life in many situations, starting when he was a little boy at the age of ten. There are some who may come through one's life and try to hinder him or her from getting them where it is that they need to be because of jealousy or many other reasons. If most cases, successful people most often refer back to someone who served as a mentor or some positive influence in their life.
Sinclair was helped by Demian who he did not really know until they walked home together one day. Demian helped Sinclair to show that he was not afraid of people. Franz Kromer, a local bully, lured Sinclair into telling him that he stole some apples when Sinclair really did not do it. Sinclair did this because Kromer's bad reputation was affecting him, making him want to seem cool. Kromer was one who put Sinclair down when he was a little boy. Demian, on the other hand, was someone who Sinclair looked up to, not as a peer but as a mentor and a man.
Demian talked to Sinclair about books and life in general. Kromer finally stopped bullying and bothering Sinclair and Sinclair was able to move on with his life. In this particular situation, it was Demian who helped Sinclair move forward. Sinclair was also beginning to see that Demian was not trying to be a mean person or someone who was trying to get something out of him as Kromer had been. Sinclair began to hang around Demian more and more and was looking at him as a mentor. Sinclair stated that, "Sometimes in those days I made attempts to imitate him and to concentrate my willpower on some goal I had to achieve it."(pg. 37) Sinclair started making plans and setting goals in life that he wanted to achieve through willpower and motivation. He was trying to do everything like Demian. Demian talked to Sinclair as a grownup of some sort, telling him to follow his wishes.

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Sinclair was saying how he could not bring himself to talk to Demian about certain things he had on his mind, but yet he wanted to achieve big dreams. The help Demian gave Sinclair, contradicted Sinclair's statement, "In such matters people can't help each other. No one helped me, either. You have to meditate on your own needs, and then you must do whatever is in accord with your own real nature. Nothing else will help."(pg. 76) In reading the story, Demian, it seems as if Demian was a great mentor and friend to Sinclair, and then he makes a statement like that. Once again Sinclair said how he admired and looked up to the way in which Demian talked, but he still could not find his path in life. Sinclair stated that, "But in my way of thinking, which was totally influenced by Demian, I differed greatly from those among my fellow pupils who displayed total belief."(pg. 37) Demian and Sinclair were around the same age yet Sinclair seemed to think like him. At times people may reject what a mentor might say because it may not sound good to them because it is something that they might not want to hear, but deep down they know that it is right. If they follow the advice or heed to the information, they may be motivated to go on and do well in life. As with Sinclair, he would hear something and Demian would interpret it for him and tell him to give him his ideas about it, and Demian would notice that they did not share the same views all the time. Demian also had a strong impact on Sinclair at home with his family. Demian's impact on Sinclair was so forceful that, "In the days that followed, I devoted myself several times to a new exercise in my bedroom: I sat down stiffly on a chair, made my eyes rigid, kept completely motionless, and waited to see how long I could keep it up and how it would affect me."(pg. 43) Sinclair was becoming more and more like Demian, his mentor.
After one thinks that they no longer need a mentor, they seem to go off on their own or the mentor may leave and the person is left to live on what they learned. Of course, someone else can come along and negatively turn that person back to their old ways. Sinclair did this when he made a big transition. He was living up to the ways that Demian had taught him until he met Alfons Beck, a bad influence. Alfons Beck was not a mentor, advisor, nor teacher. He led Sinclair to drink. Of course, everyone knows that drinking often leads to a dead end. Alfons took Sinclair a step back from where Demian had brought him. When Sinclair talked to Alfons Beck, he did not talk in the manly way that he talked to Demian. "Beck listened to me with pleasure, finally at last someone I could give something to."(pg. 46) Sinclair's first drunken escapade led to many others. Sinclair's debauchery became known by other people who he did not know, which spread his name in a negative way. Alfons Beck was seen as a hindrance for Sinclair, putting him in trouble all the time.
An influence that seemed to be good on Sinclair was a girl that he did not even know that he gave the name Beatrice. This particular girl inspired Sinclair to paint and motivated him to "straighten up his act" and focus again. One picture that he painted reminded him of Demian. Soon Sinclair saw that he was going to start school at the university, a higher level of achievement and knew that he must find his final path for what he wanted to do in life. Sinclair met Pistorious, someone who was a lot like Demian, who became Sinclair's mentor while Demian was absent from his life. Pistorious talked to him about the same ideas as those that Demian had discussed. Pistorious knew that Demian was holding things inside of him from the past. Pistorious stated, "I know you have dreams you don't tell me about."(pg.73) Pistorious told Sinclair that he could achieve even though he knew he made mistakes along the way.
In a way, Sinclair became a mentor for someone by the name of Knauer, who was seeking advice, which Sinclair had none to give. Of course, Sinclair knew of some advice that Pistorious had given him, but felt he did not know how to pass it down just yet. Sinclair told Knauer, "I can't tell you anything, Knauer."(pg. 76) Sinclair began a point in his life where people looked up to him and asked him for advice. He became a mentor to other people. Sinclair also begins to stop hanging around Pistorious. He no longer saw him as an immensely wise man or mentor upon which to model himself. Sinclair begins to felt like much of what Pistorious told him was not very relevant. Sinclair's felt that he needed to move on to a higher level in life.
After some time Sinclair and Demian were reunited later in the book; they recounted their earlier childhood memories. Sinclair found out that Demian was a lieutenant and was subject to go off to war. Sinclair is sent off to battle sometime later, following in the footsteps of Demian. While both in battle, they were reunited once again. Demian left and this gave Sinclair another opportunity to look deep within himself.
In conclusion, Sinclair contradicted his statement, "In such matters people can't help each other. No one helped me, either. You have to meditate own your own needs, and then you must do whatever is in accord with your own real nature. Nothing else will help."(pg. 76) Sinclair had Demian as a great mentor throughout life, meeting when they were just school boys. Demian taught him many ways of life. Sinclair ended up serving in the war, which was a big step in life for him or probably for anyone. He did have to use some of his own judgments to get him through. People such as Kromer and Alfons Beck were considered obstacles in that they tried to hinder Sinclair. Mentors, teachers and advisors do affect what a person does in life. Demian was an influential mentor in Sinclair's life.
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