Demian by Herman Hesse


Demian by Herman Hesse

Just read Demian by Herman Hesse (buy at amazon). The book is a fictional first-person account of a German youth named Sinclair who is going through a period of awakening/enlightenment, working through issues of good and evil, at the hands of certain mentors (Max Demian throughout, Demian’s mom ultimately).

The book is about 170 pages. It has a mysterious quality to it, and I imagine there are some underlying ideas that I completely missed. The big takeaway to me was that there are those people who examine their lives, live with a self-driven purpose and exist apart from the “herd” and then there’s everyone else. Demian, Sinclair, et. al. seek their own purpose, which is a higher road than the herd. As for tangible philosophical ideas, the book came up short for me. Wasn’t an unpleasant read even still, but then again, if you’re a pretty individualistic person, you’ll find you agree with the general premise of this book — so what’s not to like?

Probably a good read for a 16 year old struggling with the idiocy of high school popularity contests.

  1. tony hammersticks

    yes i agree with you the book was very mysterious and vague. i have to read the book for my lit class and did not really want too, but after i began reading it i liked it.

  2. Jill Rose

    I am a high school student and just finished reading Demian. I absolutely loved the book and the whole deep meaning behind it. I agree when you say it has a mysterious quality to it, because I believe that that is the main idea behind this book. To fully understand it you must think outside the box and find the true meaning of what they are saying about life and how they feel they should life it. The book is full of metaphors too. Almost everyone Sinclair encounters, they talk to each other through metaphors and talk about life through metaphors too. I believe that the whole book is about Sinclair trying to find his inner self and his purpose in life. He meets Demian and he represents his evil side. By the end of the book, Sinclair figures out that he has the mark of Cain on him. In the beginning of the book he was not sure what Demian meant when he would talk about Cain and Abel, or when he would talk about someone having the mark of Cain. Now Emil knows what it means to have the mark of Cain on you, because he himself now feels that he has it too. There are some ideas that I might have missed too and I know that there has to be a few. This is because there are so many hidden clues and metaphors that I might have not caught onto or understood clearly. But all in all, I really liked this book and found it very interesting and deep to read.

  3. Brian

    Hi. My name is Brian and I just finished reading this book in my literature class.I feel the same way about it. I feel that it does have a mysterious quality. Sometimes it was hard to figure the characters out. I feel,if I wasn’t as confused, I would have liked the book better. I’m sure it would have been easier to read and more interesting to me. I just did not have a lot of enthusiasm for the book. I wish I did because it would make my class more interesting and exciting while reading the book.

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