The Fighting to Escape the Egg, Demian
Kim Lim Minji  |  smt_kmj@sm.ac.kr
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승인 2017.03.11  16:29:52
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“A bird fights its way out of its egg shell.  The shell is its world.  Anyone who desires birth must destroy a world.” These are well-known ideas by Hesse Hermann in his book ‘Demian’.  The book was first published under Emil Sinclair, the name of the main character because Hesse Hermann, already famous at the time of publication, wanted the book to be evaluated on its content not on his name.  However, the style of writing in the book quickly gave him up.  What made Hesse Hermann, one of the greatest German writers, write a book anonymously? What did he want to convey to readers?  The answer is in the ‘Demian’.




The Consideration of Good and Evil Inside Every Human 

‘Demian’ is subtitled “Emil Sinclair’s Youth”.  The narrator of the book is Emil Sinclair, and it is written as an autobiography.  Emil Sinclair is in his forties, and he narrates his life story starting from his youth to present age.  As a youngster, Sinclair lived his life on the bright side of the world.  This world centered around his father and mother who were loving, rationale, energetic, calm, and all good things.  However, after one small lie, his entire life changed.  Max Demian helps Sinclair, who suffers deeply and feels abject because of the lie. Demian was a transfer student and the son of a wealthy widow.  He had a bright yet frim look.  Demian was able to help Sinclair emerge from the darkness, but after having lived in the dark, Sinclair was never able to fully return to the brightness again.  Despite living in a sort of blankness for a while, he is soon captivated by Demian’s thoughts.  Demian viewed the story of ‘Cain and Abel’ differently.  He told Sinclair that everyone needs to interpret a teacher’s teachings differently.  From that time, Sinclair started thinking outside the box to see things from different standpoints, and young Sinclair became a man.
Because Demian’s questions and Sinclair’s thoughts are philosophical, the reporter was often lost in thought as the reporter read the book.  What is real goodness?  Is there real evil?  the reporter was almost corrupted by nihilism by mid-book, but after reading the entire novel, the reporter realized what the reporter should guard is myself.  We should keep our center of gravity.  Without realizing ourselves, we can do nothing.  When we feel lost, we need to find our way back to our center.  Whenever our mind is awhirl with thoughts, we need to look inwards.  Looking inwards and using the power of reflection, all problems can be resolved.  Also, the most important thing is to learn to say no to western dualism and fragmentary morality.  Everyone needs to respect diverse thoughts and find their own way in life.  The reporter thinks this is what Hesse Herman wanted to say to the world after experiencing World War II.  


To Be An Adult

For a bird that fights its way out of its egg shell, the shell is the world, which it destroys in order to be born.  There are so many ideas and notions worth considering in the book ‘Demian’, but the reporter believes this is the most precious.  Every human goes through a process of denial before becoming an adult.  Like a bird that fights to get out of its shell, risking harm to live well, people must go through the procedure of life facing all risks and physical and mental wounds.  When there is no way around life, you must stand up and fight to live in the new world.  


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