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MonkeyNotes-Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse
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As the Director of the Magic Theatre, Pablo leads Haller to the brink of self-recognition. In the process, Pablo becomes a master mirror in which all of Haller's aspirations are joined. The musician explains that the world beyond time for which Haller has been searching lies hidden within his own self. He shows him a looking-glass in which Haller sees a man and a wolf fighting. Haller recognizes the image as his inner turmoil. Pablo tells him that before he can enter the Magic Theatre he must first kill the Steppenwolf within him.

As Haller studies the mirror, the image of the struggling wolf and man suddenly disappears, causing Haller to laugh with relief. Pablo then tells him that his longing for eternity is simply his wish to be rid of his dual personality. When Haller looks in the mirror again, he sees many images of himself, not just two; some are old and some are young. It is the symbol that man's soul is composed of multiple beings: male and female, young and old, present and past.

All of the different rooms that Haller enters reveal something about him. In the scene of the automobile hunt, it becomes obvious that Haller is anti-national and anti-technology. He joins in the violent battle between men and machines because he feels it is about a genuinely vital issue. It is Hesse's way of saying that man needs to fight against the negative aspects of a technological world. He also feels that excess nationalism is destructive. One nation fighting another for supremacy is a horrible waste of life. In spite of the negative image of violence presented, Haller seems to enjoy the fighting once he joins in. Since Haller has always expressed his pacifism, his joining the fray seems to indicate that Hesse believes that all of mankind has a subconscious thirst for war.


In the room where chess is being played, Haller learns more about his potential. Instead of normal chessmen in the game, the pieces represent parts of a personality. The parts are continually rearranged on the board, so that in each game a new self may be built up. Haller realizes that he can rearrange himself to become what he wants. He can control the multiple personalities within him.

In the next scene, Haller witnesses the taming of the Steppenwolf within him. It is a sickening enactment in which a man totally subdues a wolf. The conqueror then submits to being trained to eat living flesh, much as a wolf would do. Haller thinks that he has witnessed the greatest kind of savagery, and that it resides within him. He accepts that all the horrors of the world are part of himself. Suddenly he becomes the embodiment of the sickness of his time, a social and cultural decay.

In the scene called "All Girls are Yours," Haller blissfully consummates his sexual desires. Hermine, however, tries to teach him to accept his sensual nature with humorous detachment; but Haller has difficulty with this philosophy, for he initially views sex as an ultimate goal. In teaching Haller the way of detached sensuality, Hermine is teaching him the way of spirituality traveled by the Immortals, like Mozart, who mastered ultimate detachment. In the end, Hermine becomes Haller's "eternal self." Through her request for absolute obedience, she brings about self- awareness in her subject.

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