Book Review: Demian by Herman Hesse

Assalammualaikum..

To be honest, I really don’t know about this book, but thanks to BTS (K-pop boy band that I addicted right now), so I decided to read the book. From their Blood, Sweat and Tears MV, they used Demian as a theme and to get a better grip of their MV, it’s better if you knew or read the book.

So, I don’t think it will be a good review to all who seeks about the book as I really don’t get it all. Usually, with 49 pages, I can finish it around 1 hour or 2 hours at least. But this one, too much use of symbolicism especially at the end of chapter 7 and 8. This was the first time I fell asleep more than 4 times and it’s not even half of the book. Hahahaha..

Generally, what can I concluded about this book, is a journey of a young boy (Sinclair) to seek who he is. Yes, all of us have their good and dark sides (as these traits symbolise by two realms in the book). Sinclair was raised in quite a happy family, his dad is a pastor, he is known as a good boy until at some points when he struggles about what he believes in. Ever since then, he starts to rebel against his parents and even his studies seem doesn’t have any future. But, he back to the track when he finally met Max Demian mother which is Frau Eva, the one that kept him grounded and finally found who he is. Well, in other words, Sinclair fall in love with his friend mother. Okay, that was a general synopsis of what I read. I know for someone that not yet read it, my general review doesn’t seem help at all. I’ll try my best to review it into simpler words, who knows you guys want to read the book.

Okay, this story is all about the journey of a young boy name Sinclair to seek who he is. The story started with Sinclair childhood when he was bullied by a boy named Franz Kromer. He blackmailed Sinclair and that made Sinclair life turned upside down until he met a newly transferred student named Max Demian. For me, Max Demian totally a weirdo and such a psycho. I don’t get it how ‘thought reading’ method can help him to know Sinclair problem in which only Sinclair himself knew about it. What made me think Demian such a psycho was, what he did to Franz Kromer till that bully not even dare to blackmail Sinclair anymore. Sinclair even asked him, did he gave money or smack him and his answer was NO. So, what the hell he did to that boy and even at the end of the book the author never revealed it. It just goes poof like that. The story continues into the confirmation day and this is where Demian slowly gave a question that made Sinclair asking what he believes in. From the story of Cain and Abel, when all people blame Cain as a bad one (Demian seemed in Cain side when he sounds like defended Cain action) till he interpreted Sinclair dreams (this was when Sinclair in the early year in university) and send a notes stated, “The bird fights its way out of the egg. The egg is the world. … That God’s name is Abraxas.” After the notes, both of them lose contact as Demian also moves out with his mother.

So, that is the end of Max Demian part 1 in the book. Next one, Sinclair met an organist that play organs in a church close to his university compound. When he was walking alone and suddenly he heard such a beautiful sound from church and he found it comforting him till one day he decided to met the organist face to face. The organist named Pistorius and he became a temporary mentor for Sinclair after Max Demian. When I read about a chapter regarding Pistorius and Sinclair, to be honest, I’m a little bit uncomfortable and really disagreed what everything of what these two talked about. I know mostly the Christian also agreed with me. This is when the conflict began among the readers and the author starts. Pistorius, he was someone that get ready to be a pastor or priest (I didn’t remember) but somehow, like Sinclair himself, he was struggling of what he believes in. This is where the Abraxas deity comes out again; Pistorius believes in Abraxas; The God of Good and Devil and it’s contradicted with what Christian believe or any religion including Muslim. He even had a hidden and private cult where he and the follower idolise Abraxas. (you can look up to page 32 and correct me if my interpretation was wrong). Somehow, they start to drift apart as both of them found what they want.

There was this one character that I don’t want to talk about, His story with Sinclair a bit not that important (just a small part) so I will skip to the important one, Sinclair met the love of his life, Frau Eva, Max Demian beloved mother. Before that, Sinclair had a dream of someone and it made him draw her and turned out the one in a drawing actually Frau Eva. So, this chapter, I mean chapter 7 and 8 was all about Frau Eva as someone that help Sinclair found who he is. I struggled a lot between these two chapters as too much symbolicism used and I’m sorry I can’t explain too much about it. I’ll try to read the book once more to get a better understanding the ending. Also, in chapter 7, if I’m not mistaken, Sinclair found out once again, Max Demian in his room, he kind like been possessed by ‘something’ ?  (He also like this in early chapter, in church while both Sinclair and Demian get ready for Confirmation Day). He freaked out and run towards Frau Eva. What made me annoyed about this scene, even the mother do not tell the truth about what happened to Demian. So fast forwards, WW1 is approaching and Demian get drafted first (because he is lieutenants)  and finally Sinclair. The end.

So.

There are two things still I don’t get it. Why Franz Kromer goes missing suddenly and who the heck is Max Demian was? Is he a devil-masked as human? Same goes to his mom.

I think maybe I need to read the book again. 49 pages maybe bearable to read it again. I know this book really popular, but popular doesn’t mean everyone can accept it. It seems like a lot of people used Demian theme as their projects and same goes to BTS. Some may be disagreed with this book themes (of course it related to religion) and with an open mind, some may use the Demian theme and interpret it as only a temptation theme just like what BTS did.

Okay, that’s all. I need some sleep now. Tomorrow I have to work. Good night!

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