Hermann Hesse's Demian
The biblical story of Abel and Cain was deeply rooted in this novel.
This theme was used to explore the life of a young man growing up in Germany.
Compared to the novel Siddhartha, Demian had a more surrealistic quality to
it. Some of the physical events that occurred would not have been possible in
reality. In Siddhartha, only the mental events were surreal. The theme of
self-discovery was explored with a Jung approach. Hermann Hesse was obviously
under the influence of Dr. Carl Jung when he wrote the novel.
The story was told as a lookback into the past. By the end of the first
couple of pages, Emil Sinclair explicitly revealed this fact to the reader.
The development of the two worlds of good and evil took place early in the
novel. Sinclair's home and his family symbolized the good of the world, while
almost everything else outside of the household was considered the evils of
the world. Max Demian was a strange being because he seemed to be an all-
knowing character. He was the wise one, similar to the river in Siddhartha.
As the story developed, the narrator (Sinclair) became lost in his dreams and
the boundaries between reality and fantasy were frequently mixed up. Because
of his troublesome dreams, Sinclair slowly lost control of his life and was
controlled by them.
The paintings done by Sinclair were one of the most symbolic of all
symbols. His paintings transformed from one figure to another, right before
his eyes. Some times, they were two of more figures at once.&nb...
... middle of paper ...
...m as unique and not evil. Cain
was the stronger of the two brothers and his actions were justified. Though
Demian had corrupted Sinclair by teaching him how to interpret the bible,
Demian was like a father-figure to Sinclair. Demian had lifted Sinclair out
of his ruined life and had given him freedom. Demian was some kind of free
spirit, almost like Christ.
Similar to the story of Siddhartha, at one point in the novel Sinclair
discovered the beauty of the world around him. Sinclair became as wise as
Demian by the end of the novel. In the final page, the death of Demian
signified the achievement of his goal. He had gained experience in life. He
had discovered himself. Demian had moved on to another world when he saw that
Sinclair no longer needed his help.
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