• Ayesha Dhurue

Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse

Hermann Hesse’s nuanced writing style focuses on self-discovery and the balance of opposites. That’s where the beauty of Steppenwolf lies. The story is existential and intense. Somehow the book also seemed very humanistic since it’s about a man who harbors both a humane and animalistic perception of humanity. Hesse navigates the dimensions of a self through Eastern and Western ways of thinking. It’s an unyielding combination of spirituality and pessimism. How such conflicting philosophies have been pressed together in a single book is astonishing. And the way Hesse has sketched his protagonist, and how he has carved out the world the story is set in, it’s quite extraordinary. There is no one way of interpreting this book. I’ve read this book twice and each time I have retained something new. The underlying theme of the book is very psychological. It focuses on the many layers of the self. The hedonistic as well as the altruistic aspect of human personality. And the infinite and chaotic nature of consciousness. This is what makes the book a must-read. The protagonist doesn’t feel alienated from society, he’s somehow the best reflection of it.