Sunday, October 11, 2009
I'm going to completely jump off the Sartre ship. I've been reading Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse. The "Treatise on the Steppenwolf" (found on page 104 of our book) is amazing; I really encourage reading this to further understand existentialism. Throughout the book Hesse references Nietzsche, whose influence is evident throughout the novel. The main character, Harry Haller, completely distances himself from society, but keeps a close watch and commentary on said 1920s society. "But in the midst of the freedom he had attained Harry suddenly became aware that his freedom was a death and that he stood alone" (108). This is existential to the extreme. Harry mimics Dostoevsky's Underground Man in the way that he is not mentally constrained within society but continues to critique it. The difference between the two is that the Underground Man is angry against the bourgeois society, whereas Harry longs to be a part of it. He longs for the innocence and simplicity of living like the masses. Although he is a lone wolf (a wolf from the Steppes), he wishes to be fully human and experience humanity for all it's stupidity and ignorance.
Posted by brannen at 9:41 PM