Demian

Demian In every piece of literature there is always a sense of imagination. Now, that imagination can cause a variety of different scenarios. Some may say that the main character could look one way, but then another set of people can say that the main character looks entirely different. That’s also true with the “meaning” in some parts of the text. The only person who really knows the truth is the author, because the author obviously wrote the book. So it is up to our own imagination to determine what is, and what is not.
This thought can also be applied to Demian by Hermann Hesse. Some say that Max Demian isn’t a physical reality, but only a figment of Emil Sinclair’s imagination, while others are stating that Max Demian is a physical reality. On the Oprah Winfrey Show, O, Oprah did a documentary with a girl named Jani. Jani has a horrible case of Schizophrenia. Schizophrenia by definition is a mental disorder characterized by a breakdown of thought processes and by poor emotional responsiveness.
Common symptoms include auditory hallucinations, paranoid or bizarre delusions or disorganized speech and thinking, and it is accompanied by a significant social or occupational dysfunction (“Schizophrenia”). Basically Jani was seeing various hallucinations since she was 5 (she is now 10). She would have nice hallucinations where they would be friendly, or bad hallucinations where they would want her to hurt her family members or even herself. At first Jani didn’t understand what was happening to her mentally, and she thought she was normal and that everyone could see her hallucinations, like “11 o’clock” who was a friendly cat.

This is very relatable to Sinclair’s life because Demian was a hallucination to Sinclair, Sinclair just didn’t realize it. First off, Sinclair said, “For years I have been unable to distinguish between what I experienced in these dreams and in real life. ” (Hesse 28*) That quote speaks for itself. Sinclair was unable to acknowledge what happened in either his dreams or in real life. So there is a possibility that this whole novel could have been just a dream to Sinclair.
However since that is most likely not the case, Sinclair still could have dreamt up Demian, and just combined his dreams with his reality in confusion. In addition, Sinclair later stated, “Side by side with this I lived in a world of dreams, drives, and desires of a chthonic nature, across which my conscious self desperately built its fragile bridges, for the childhood world within me was falling apart. ” (Hesse 41*) Again Sinclair is living a life entirely of dreams, which are confusing him so much to the point that he cannot distinguish the difference between reality and dream.
Later on, Sinclair describes Demian’s face with these words, “I saw Demian’s face and I not only noticed that was not a boy’s face but a man’s; I also felt or saw that it was not entirely the face of a man either, but had something feminine about it, too. ” (Hesse 43*) This is a perfect example of Carl Jung’s explanation on people’s psyche. He said that people’s psyche is not necessarily gender locked. Imagine a line, on the left side are the male gender roles, and on the right, female gender roles.
Now in the middle is a perfect blend of the two, which can never happen according to Jung, however in the description of Demian’s face, it seems as though Demian is a perfect blend of the two gender roles, which isn’t supposed to happen. Technically Demian should not exist, because he is a perfect blend of the two gender roles, which also adds to the fact that Demian’s face could only be so perfect if he was an imagination or a hallucination to Sinclair. Similarly, Sinclair commented, “I could hardly grasp it that no one besides me noticed him!
Everyone should have looked at him, everyone should have trembled! But no one heeded him. He sat there like a statue, and, I thought, proud as an idol! A fly lighted on his forehead and scurried across his nose and lips – not a muscle twitched. ” (Hesse 67**) Okay, I have a serious question to ask. How could one not move a muscle when a fly lands on their forehead and scurries across their nose and lips? That is most likely impossible for anyone to do, because most flies are very sensitive to everything, so if they see even the slightest of twitches they will fly away.
And I know for a fact that anyone would twitch at the sight of a fly landing on their forehead. So if Demian was only a hallucination to Sinclair it is entirely possible for Demian to remain motionless whilst a fly is scurrying across his face. Furthermore, in David Fincher’s 1999 release of Fight Club Edward Norton’s character is found to have been hallucinating Tyler Durden played by Brad Pitt. Now in the beginning Norton did not realize that Tyler was a hallucination, but after Tyler manipulated Norton’s life, Norton began to realize that Tyler was really just a hallucination.
Tyler was about to blow up an entire city until he finally realized that Tyler was a part of himself. To stop Tyler from manipulating him, Norton’s character shot himself in the face, and he watched as Tyler disappeared. Technically since Tyler is not a real physical being, and only a hallucination Tyler cannot die, however Norton believed that Tyler had died, so he saw Tyler die. This also applies to Sinclair and Demian. On the last page of the novel, Demian and Sinclair explained, ““Little Sinclair, listen: I will have to go away.
Perhaps you’ll need me again sometime, against Kromer or something. If you call me then I won’t come crudely, on horseback or by train. You’ll have to listen within yourself then you will notice that I am within you. Do you understand? And something else. Frau Eva said that if ever you were in a bad way I was to give you a kiss from her that she sends by me. . . . Close your eyes, Sinclair! ” I closed my eyes in obedience. I felt a light kiss on my lips where there was always a little fresh blood which never would go away. And then I fell asleep.
Next morning someone woke me: I had to have my wounds dressed. When I was finally wide awake I turned quickly to the mattress next to mine. On it lay a stranger I’d never seen before. ” (Hesse 171**) This quote has the same effect as when Norton’s character shot himself to kill Tyler, however this has not violence. Sinclair’s subconscious mind knew that Sinclair was ready enough to not need Demian anymore. So after the kiss bestowed onto Sinclair from Demian, Sinclair no longer needed to hallucinate Demian and that is why he disappeared the next morning.
Demian was never a physical being; he was only a part of Sinclair’s subconscious mind, trying to help Sinclair. In conclusion, Demian is only a physical being to Sinclair, and to no one else. Sinclair needed Demian because there was something that his subconscious mind wanted “Demian” to help Sinclair get through his tough times. Demian did in fact help Sinclair a lot and Sinclair got through his tough times with some bumps in the road but that is to be expected. Without the help of Demian, Sinclair could have gone mentally insane.
That is why Emil Sinclair’s subconscious conjured up Demian, so Sinclair could have an easier time transitioning from a child to an adult. Citations Hesse, Hermann. Demian. New York, NY: Harper & Row Publishers, 1989. 0-171. Print. Schofield, Jani. Personal Interview. 2009. “Schizophrenia. ” <http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Schizophrenia>. Fincher, David, dir. Fight Club. 1999. Film. 3 Jan 2013. <http://www. imdb. com/title/ tt0137523/>. (*) 2nd published copy of Demian by Hermann Hesse (**) 1st published copy of Demian by Hermann Hesse

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