Steppenwolf Analysis

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“As for others and the world around him he never ceased in his heroic and earnest endeavor to love them, to be just to them, to do them no harm, for the love of his neighbor was as deeply in him as the hatred of himself […]” (Hesse 11). | This passage demonstrates essential characteristics of the modern period. Man may hate himself, but in his weakened state will desperately try to make connections with the people he surrounds himself with. D.H. Lawrence exemplifies this; “We all want to be absolute, and sufficient unto ourselves. And it is a great blow to our self-esteem that we simply need another human being.” The modern period was a time of desperation and hopelessness, where one’s only hope was to cling to others in hopes of making the heroic decision to live. | “What I first discovered about Haller, partly through my espionage, partly from my aunt’s remarks, concerned his way of living. It was soon obvious that his days were spent with his thoughts and his books, and that he pursued no practical calling. He lay always very late in bed. Often he was not up much before noon […]” (Hesse 11). | This passage also sets the scene for the modern period, where there was a great deal of ennui. In a world recovering from the atrocities of WWI, there was a great deal of time for contemplation and depressed stagnation. Haller, Steppenwolf, experiences this ennui, this extreme boredom. It is difficult for middle class, bourgeois people like the narrator and his aunt, to understand this situation. This exemplifies the social gap between classes following WWI, according to who had direct experience with war and those who had naïve opinions that were dictated by propaganda machines. | “Human life is reduced to real suffering, to hell, only when two ages, two cultures and religions overlap. A man of the Classical Age who had to live in medieval times would suffocate miserably just as a savage does in the midst of our civilisation. Now there are times when a whole...
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