Herman Hesse’s main theory was that “there are selves but not one self per person.” He went on to say that we are each a “multitude of selves” that may be different given different circumstances. Hesse uses the onion analogy to illustrate this point. This theory basically says that “man is an onion.” Each man has hundreds of different layers, or selves. Traditionally man was related to a peach having a solid outside and a single pit in the center, or a soul. According to Hesse, similar to an onion, man just has more layers. When finally reaching the middle, there is nothing.
The first character introduced in the reading was the author. This person is never given a name although it was noted that he knew the writer of “Treastie of the Steppenwolf” and Harry Haller. He wrote the introduction, giving some background of himself and also his own insight into this bizarre tale.
He stated he saw the case as “a document of the times, for Haller’s sickness of the soul as I now know, is not the eccentricity of a single individual but the sickness of the times themselves, the neurosis of that generation...” This statement not only implied that Haller’s predicament was not his fault, but also introduced Hesse’s theory that people who live during the end of an era tend to be a little odd. In addition, this statement indicates that not only is Haller internal conflicted, but that his whole generation has multiple personalities. Later the author is quoted as saying “Every age, every culture, every custom and tradition has its own character, its own weakness and its own strength...” Here, the author is once again relating to Hesse’s theory about people who live in between eras.
The author goes on to say that these...