Monday, 10 June 2013


The third work of Hesse's that I've read. His writing style is especially calculated in Demian. The book demands re-reading; every phrase is polished, every bit of symbolism is perfectly timed. I especially liked how Hesse portrayed Sinclair's dreams. I learned after finishing that the work is semi-autobiographical, dealing with Hesse's experience with Jungian therapy, and his experience as a child in a home like Emil's.

Every mentioning of the 'completeness' theme brought my thoughts back to the inner work I've been trying to do lately. I think this idea of wholeness was clearer to Colin during his reading that it was to me; he's further along that line of thought than I am. Still, I gleaned useful thoughts from that theme and I feel motivated to think about wholeness (I believe Hesse was thinking along the lines of Gnosticism when he wrote Demian, the theme stands without it anyway).

The well-defined 'eras' of Sinclair's life have some meaning for me. "Fate and temperament are two words for the same concept" says he. With each successive phase, S. gets closer to his destiny. His behaviour predicts his future. It does for all of us. The final breaking of the egg must be the death of Demian -- or perhaps it's meeting Eva. I don't really know. Anyway, the paradigm shift which S. constantly experiences is only possible for those who bear the mark of Cain. The mark is common among all of Demians friends, and Sinclair finds it also on Pisorius in a limited way. The feature they all share must be some divine knowledge. Demian gives us the image of evolution to describe the mark, but also that of Cain and Abel. The mark is inexpressible and it torments the bearer. For the sparrow-hawk, the feeling of constantly being born is both a torture and an ecstasy. That's the feeling, it seems, that all the characters who bear the mark have. Sinclair is released from the 'egg' in the final paragraph. After a second reading, the narrative could be that of a baby being born. He's found his destiny at last, and is reborn as Demian.

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