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Hermann Hesse

Chapter 3

Chapter 2

Chapter 3, page 2

page 1 of 2

The older Sinclair reflects on his childhood and on the influences from the world of darkness that "tore" him from his innocence and his parents. He observes that learning how to navigate the newfound sexual desires of his adolescence and how to balance those against the values of his upbringing proved a miserably difficult task at which he failed.

A few years had passed, during which Sinclair had only peripheral contact with Demian. Then, as Sinclair began to take classes toward his Confirmation, he learned that Demian would be taking them with him. When these classes started, Sinclair purposely avoided Demian—he still felt awkwardly indebted to Demian because of his help in freeing Sinclair from Kromer years earlier.

As Sinclair became less interested in his conversation, he became more and more intrigued by Demian. He still felt a bond with him from years past. One day the pastor taught the story of Cain and Abel. When he began to speak of Cain's mark, Demian and Sinclair looked at each other knowingly across the room—what the pastor was teaching need not be the final word on the story, they thought. This moment drew Sinclair and Demian back together. Soon after, Demian switched his place and was sitting next to Sinclair.

Sinclair finally began to enjoy confirmation class. A glance from Demian at a point during the lesson could get him to question what the teacher said. Further, he watched Demian play all sorts of psychological games with the students and the teacher. Demian seemed to exert a remarkable power over others' actions. Sinclair questions him about the way in which he seems to be a puppet master over others. Demian responds that by concentrating hard enough he can learn to read people's thoughts. Further, if one wills something enough, and it is possible, he will accomplish it. Demian uses these two principles to explain how he moved his seat next to Sinclair's and how he is able to affect what the teacher does by staring at him.

Sinclair's religious faith begins to wane. However, unlike classmates who completely denied the truth of all Christianity, he respected the value of a religiously observant life. Rather than reject the bible and Christian belief entirely, Sinclair took to offering different, perhaps more fanciful, interpretations. One day after a class in which they had discussed the crucifixion, Demian offers Sinclair a radical suggestion. Sinclair feels the need to reject Demian's suggestion as too radical—something must be held sacred. But, Demian pushes on—the God of the Bible may represents all that is good and honorable, but, he insists, there is more to man. One must either also worship the devil or worship a god who embodies both good and evil.

Sinclair is elated that Demian has touched upon his deepest thoughts about there being two realms. He tries to bring it up, but Demian brings the conversation to an abrupt halt, telling him that he does not yet understand the full significance of what he is saying.

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