Steppenwolf Essay Process by CE

On the Vanity of Existence – Schopenhauer

“The scenes of our life resemble pictures in rough mosaic; they are ineffective from close up, and have to be viewed from a distance if they are to seem beautiful.”  (This would work very well with an analysis of the garden metaphor in the treatise and then its extrapolation throughout the novel.)

  • Haller sees nothing beautiful in life, but as time goes on he’s constantly looking back to his childhood where he wishes he could have been a part of the comfort that the bourgeois provided.
  • When he’s in the magic theater, the man shows him that he can rearrange his life into any form he wants if he’s not content with it. It was only when Haller physically saw his life being molded into different forms did he realize how much power he had to make his life beautiful.
  • Maria and Hermine are two women who helped him begin to see all of the beauty in life. [Read more…]

Steppenwolf Outline by EMJ


  • Background on Sartre’s idea of bad faith, nothingness and the pain from one’s inner conflict
  • Explain Schopenhauer’s idea of the inevitability of pain with knowledge
  • Introduce the connection between Sartre and Schopenhauer’s idea; the inner conflict that one feels due to bad faith is what the ‘thinker’ indulges in, causing them to feel pain and suffering
  • Influence of Schopenhauer and Sartre on Harry Haller’s journey with Hermine throughout the book and his necessity of returning to a childhood state in order to survive his reality

Thesis: Through Harry Haller’s transformation with Hermine, merged with Sartre’s philosophy of bad faith and Schopenhauer’s idea that with knowledge pain is inevitable, Hermann Hesse proves that man must return to a childlike state in order to enjoy the pleasures of life and survive reality. [Read more…]

Steppenwolf PBA Essay by GG

In the modern era, the functional capacity of individuals within larger organizations has risen to unparalleled importance and the development of functionality has violently relegated the individual’s spiritual development. Hermann Hesse’s Steppenwolf illustrates the psychological damage modern organization inflicts upon complex beings and follows one man’s journey to heal his shattered soul. Along with Hesse, Søren Kierkegaard and Carl Jung also resist modern paradigms by illuminating the ways individuals can preserve and develop the many souls that exist within them, despite modern dehumanization. Kierkegaard discusses how defining oneself within the context of a larger organization fragments individuality, and argues that a subjective relationship to the self and one’s spirituality creates a truthful individual. Jung’s discussion of our shared unconscious shows the true depth of our inner beings and brings to light the severe dehumanization modern views of individuality produce. [Read more…]