The novel Demian by Hermann Hesse explores the idea of duality and its development in the protagonist from childhood to adulthood. Sinclair experiences many events that cause him to reflect on his conscience and his view of the world. Sinclair seeks guidance from Demian throughout the story and begins to see the world as two places, one dark and one light. The novel climaxes with Sinclair learning about Abraxas and starts to see that the world is both dark and light.
Sinclair’s encounter with Franz Kromer is his first step towards his self-realization. Sinclair is distraught with guilt as Kromer has caught him in a lie and is extorting him. Kromer’s demand for money causes Sinclair to step deeper into the “dark world” and steal to pay him off. While Kromer continues to ask for more money, Sinclair meets Demian who helps him out of the situation. Demian introduces Sinclair to duality during their encounters and starts the series of changes Sinclair will experience.
Sinclair’s next step towards his self-realization has him meet Alfons Beck, who introduces him to drinking. Sinclair begins to frequent the tavern with boys from school and again steps into the “dark world”. This step causes him to begin failing at school and earns the anger of his parents. At first, Sinclair showed that he didn’t care about the consequences but as time passed his guilt began to surface. Demian sends Sinclair a letter with the word Abraxas on it. This event helped shape Sinclair’s view of life and led him to his next mentor.
Pistorius is Sinclair’s next teacher and helps him understand the past of Abraxas. Sinclair begins to take steps into the “light world” starts painting. He first paints Beatrice, who he thinks he is in love with at the time. One day while he is painting, he gets delirious and blacks out. When he wakes up, he finds that he has burned the painting symbolizing that he has let the dream of Beatrice go. Soon after, he parts ways with Pistorius when he...
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