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MonkeyNotes-Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse
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Section 5: The Trio - Haller, Pablo, and Maria

Summary

("Just as the gramophone contaminated....the Steppenwolf treatise")

Haller breaks the narrative to reflect on himself. He knows that the Steppenwolf in him is still in conflict with the old, ascetic, intellectual side. He is amazed that he enjoys Pablo's sensual music. One evening, while listening to Pablo, he even has a sense of joy, like when he listens to a performance of classical music. Haller also finds Pablo an interesting person in spite of the fact that he is not intellectual. Haller thinks he is a lot like a happy child who can be easily pleased. When he talks to Pablo about his opinions, the saxophonist listens to Haller's views in a courteous manner, but never responds.

Hermine tells Haller that Pablo often uses drugs, including cocaine, which he procures through secret channels. Pablo defends himself by saying that he is not a judge of what is right or wrong. As a jazz artist, his only concern is to make sensual music, which gives pleasure to people. Haller tries to tell him that there is another kind of music, which is spiritual and immortal; he states that it is superior to music that gives only a momentary pleasure. He points out that Mozart's music and fox-trot music cannot be put in the same category. As he argues, Haller feels the old conflict working inside him.

One night when he returns home, Haller finds the lovely Maria in bed. They pass the night together in sexual pleasure. Her love- making adds to the joy he has already found with Hermine and Pablo. He sees her often and thinks he is in love with her. Around Maria, he feels no weariness of the soul. He is also shocked when Pablo suggests that the two of them pay Maria money for the three of them to have a love orgy; Haller declines the offer. He is also shocked to discover that Hermine and Maria are lovers.


Notes

In this section, Haller still wrestles with his split personality. Although he thinks less about his being half-man, half-wolf, he still feels torn between his new sensual life and his old ascetic intellectual one. It is not easy for him to accept the recent influences on him, particularly the influence of jazz music, which, he has always found unpalatable.

In a way, the difference between Haller and Pablo is the difference between the two personalities within Haller. Pablo's philosophy is based purely upon giving and receiving sensual pleasure, much like the Steppenwolf in Haller. In contrast, Haller is pure and classical, believing in the goodness of spiritual music, which he feels is immortal. He judges jazz music to be temporal and lowly. Ironically, however, the Steppenwolf in him is attracted to the sensual, cacophonous sounds

Another aspect of Haller's new existence is his sexual affair with Maria, which brings him great happiness. He truly learns to appreciate living for the moment in sensuous pleasure. At the same time, he cannot get beyond his old bourgeois beliefs. Besides arguing with Pablo about what make "real" music, he is also shocked when he learns that Hermine and Maria are having an affair and when Pablo suggests that he, Haller, and Maria have a love orgy.

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