Demian (1919) - Herman Hesse
- Herman Hesse’s novel Demian tells of a young boy named Emil Sinclair and his childhood growing up.
- Emil struggles to find his new self-knowledge in the immoral world and is caught between good and evil, which is represented as the light and dark realms.
- Hesse uses much symbolic diction in his novel to describe his endless conflict between right and wrong.
- Demian is a strange, otherworldly boy, a couple of years older in age but appearing considerably more mature, almost adult.
- Demian is an enigmatic, almost magnetic character, and he begins to teach Sinclair about life, existence, the world: it is up to each individual, he tells him, to shape his own destiny.
- Sinclair listens to Demian's stories which Sinclair has never thought with a mixture of horror and fascination and gradually finds himself questioning all the certainties in his life. In this way, he embarks on his quest for knowledge and self-realisation.
- The message of this book is 'Man(human) may find self-knowledge, but mankind is forever on a path which leads to pain and anger'.