Comparison between Demian and Siddhartha
Herman Hesse, a German symbolist author from the beginning of the 20th century, was very successful in his time for the novels Demian and Siddhartha. The former, his first hit novel, was a huge success in Europe and was the novel that made him famous. The latter, written only 3 years later, consolidated his success and praise as an author. However written by the same author around the same time, these two novels are very different in respect to tone and language, but with similar sentence structure.
The tone in the passage of Demian is more didactic, explanative and may even remote to a priest’s sermon in the sense that it wishes to inform the audience about a topic related to morals and show a different perspective of the world; in Siddhartha, the tone is reverent towards Kamala and objective towards events in life. When Hesse writes Demian using the first person and addressing the world and people outside of the book, his text becomes like the transcription of a speech, which changes the audience’s interaction with the text. In contrast, in Siddhartha, the story told from his perspective when he somewhat distances itself from the other characters can lead the audience to find the story compelling yet not particularly drawing at this point. Maybe this clear difference in tone between the novels has to do with Hesse’s trip to India and his experiences while there.
The two novels also differ in regards to language, since in Demian the diction is explanative and the figurative language is not as used, whereas in Siddhartha the diction is more descriptive and there is frequent use of figurative language. This difference may come from the subject of each text; while Demian is a psychoanalytic novel, Siddhartha is an account of a man’s journey to find himself, and the obvious similarity between both themes does not lead to a similar treatment of each story. In Demian, the author directly addresses the audience in a...
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