Thoughts on: Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse

This was the right book at the wrong time for me. I can see myself loving it 10 years ago, when I was had a more gloomy and cynical outlook on life, I can hear myself saying, “This book really gets it”. (It don’t miss those days. 😂)

While I can still see the qualities; the complexity, the prose etc.., I just don’t connnect fully with the existential crisis of the middle aged misanthrope, Haller, around which the story revolves.

Part of me wanted to go up to him and shake some life into the man. “Wake up, go dance! Have a laugh for Christ sake!” And well.. thats just what the characters around him tried to do, whether it was Mozart and Goete (we are dealing with a mix of fictive and historical character in true Hesse fashion..) or Hellers object of desire, a girl named Hermine (his anima?!).

📝 “You are willing to die, you coward, but not to live”.

📝 “For what I always hated and detested and cursed above all things was this contentment, this healthiness and comfort, this carefully preserved optimism of the middle classes, this fat and prosperous brood of mediocrity.” This reminds me of McCandless notion from ‘Into The Wild.

⚖️ VERDICT:

I love me some Hesse— Siddhartha and Damien being two of my favorite novels of all time—but I didn’t fully resonate with Steppenwolf. It’s a solid classic nevertheless!

⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

We need to laugh more! Have you ever gauged how many times you laugh out loud each day?

Which is your favorite Hermann Hesse novels?

3/5

(ps… looking for my next classic. I’m looking for recommendations!)

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Thoughts on: “Demian” by Hermann Hesse

The story revolves around young Sinclair and the difficult task of finding ones self. Growing up in a protected and pious middle class home he eventually has to face the real world. Sinclair gets a new mysterious classmates, Demian, who guides him to detach and revolt from the superficial world of form and awaken to his true self.

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📝 Abraxas: A deity combining the godlike and the devilish.

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📝 “All I really wanted was to try and live the life that was spontaneously welling up within me. Why was that so very difficult?”

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📝 “When we hate a person, what we hate in his image is something inside ourselves. Whatever isn’t inside us can’t excite us.”

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⭐️ Takeaway:

About the previous quote: If that’s the case – and by observing this phenomenon for a while I believe there is some truth to it – then even when someone irritates us, we can use that as an opportunity to learn more I out ourselves. I kinda like that quote for that reason.

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📊 My Amateur Jungian Analysis: Sinclair is the “Ego”, Kromer his “Shadow” and Demian the “Self”. Lady Eve is the “Anima” (the unconscious feminine side of a man). One of Jungs anima levels is even named “Eve”. By opening up to Lady Eve, Sinclair becomes complete. He and Damien become one.

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⚖️ Verdict:

This a mysterious and short (100 pages!) coming of age story for philosophically minded reader. Pauses for contemplation are needed between each chapters. The best 3$ spent this year!

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For those who read already: What do you think Demian did to get Kromer of Sinclair’s back?

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What short book blew your mind recently?

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4/5

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