Books and Movies Reviews

Writing Assignment over Demian by Hermann Hesse

Demian, written by Hermann Hesse andfirst published in 1919, is, at its heart, a novel of self-discovery and self-actualization.The novel itself, an "autobiographical" novel that was "written" by Emil Sinclair, the focus of the story, is meant to show an old man, whose voyage of self-discovery is coming to a close, and his recollections of past events and their ability to shape his current world-view.Central to the novel is this relationship between the current incarnation of one's own personality and the past events which have gradually made such introspective aspects of oneself to emerge and take shape.While at many times asserting clearly and poignantly that the past is something which must be let go by an individual in order to carry on down the path that leads to one's true self, hidden within the novel is the assertion that the past forms us and shapes us and should never be let go of fully, but, instead, should always be kept as an afterimage of what once was.It is only then that we can begin to find our own road of self-actualization.This does not seem to be done by accident, as, in other cases of other such themes in Demian, Hesse cleverly uses the duality of nature approach.He constantly sees the world as a world dynamically split into two realms, a dark, "evil" realm and a light, "heavenly" realm.Ignorance of one realm is, according to Hesse, a flaw in one's own humanity, and must be overcome in order to reach the promised "nirvana" of self realization.
The older, somewhat wiser Sinclair often states that the past is one of the personal obstacles which must be overcome in order to find one's true self.He states that "very many are caught in [an] impasse, and forever cling painfully to an irrevocable past, the dream of lost paradise, which is the worst and most ruthless of all dreams (Demian 41)."To Sinclair, a dream of what…

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