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by Hermann Hesse



This story considers the evolving, somewhat troubled psyche of a German youth, Sinclair, as he matures during the decade prior to WWI. The analysis of Sinclair's turmoil purportedly reflects the European or German moral malaise at the time.
As a prepubescent boy, Sinclair recognizes the realm of good and light, symbolized by his God fearing parents and innocent younger sisters, as separate from the realm of evil and dark, symbolized by Franz Kromer, an older, opportunist who extorts Sinclair into fibbing and petty thievery. Another older boy, Demian, rescues Sinclair from Kromer's clutches, and then sows a new perception of the light and dark realms with an inverted interpretation of the parable of Cain and Abel. Demian perceives the... Read more

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ISBN: 0486414132
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...my mother's lap and the security of a pious, sheltered childhood. I turned myself into someone younger, more dependent, more childish than I was. I had to replace my dependence on Kromer with a new one, for I was unable to walk alone. So, in the blindness of my heart, I chose to be dependent on my father and mother, on the old, cherished "world of light," though I knew by now that it was not the only one. If I had not followed this course I would have had to bank on Demian and entrust myself to him. That I did not do so at the time seemed to me to be the result of my justifiable suspicion of his strange ideas; in reality it was entirely because of my fear. For Demian would have been far more exacting than my parents; he would have tried to make me more independent by using persuasion, exhortation, mockery, and sarcasm. I realize today that nothing in the world is more distasteful to a man than to take the path that leads to himself. Yet six months later I could not resist the...

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All quotes: 33


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The other realm, however, overlapping half our house, was completely different; it smelled different, spoke a different language, promised and demanded different things. This second world contained servant girls and workmen, ghost stories, rumors of scandal


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Everything that has happened to me since has hurt. But sometimes when I find the key and climb deep into myself where the images of fate lie aslumber in the dark mirror, I need only bend over that dark mirror to behold my own image, now completely resembling him, my brother, my master.


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their bloody task was merely an irradiation of the soul, of the soul divided within itself, which filled them with the lust to rage and kill, annihilate and die so that they might be born anew.


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Deep down, underneath, something was taking shape. Something akin to a new humanity.


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It's our sign. You've always had it, that's why I became your friend. But now it has become more distinct. "

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