The specifics of Demian's reading are also vital. He argues that the mark of Cain, rather than being a source of embarrassment, actually singles Cain out as being superior to others. This foreshadows the discussion of the mark that Demian and his mother see in Sinclair, the mark that ties him to them. Interestingly, Demian's remark that the mark of Cain was a personality trait and his suggestion that Cain might have been more intelligent presents Cain in very much the same terms in which Sinclair presents Demian at the beginning of the chapter. This further emphasizes the significance of the mark of Cain as something worn by the central figures of this work.
Seen through Sinclair's eyes in this chapter, Demian gains an almost mythic status. Sinclair reports that he and the others believed Demian capable of anything. This point is reinforced by a story of Demian gracefully and effortlessly disposing of a peer who goaded him into fighting. The perspective of the novel is key to this development. It is important to remember that we are seeing Demian through the eyes of an easily impressed pre-teen. This comes out particularly with regard to the Kromer incident. Sinclair cannot get Demian to tell him how he got Kromer to stop bothering him. Further, Sinclair offers the most obvious potential explanations and they are rebuffed. In this way, the reader, like Sinclair, is brought to see Demian as operating in some clandestine, and presumably superior, manner.
The Prodigal son pops up again in this chapter. After the torment has ended, Sinclair confesses his sins and feels that he is being readmitted to the safety of his home, just like the prodigal son on his return. For him, the metaphor is slightly different, however, than in the religious story. His return is not a matter of religious faith, but of returning to the world of light. For Sinclair, his family—and especially his parents—symbolize the world of light.
Sinclair's family, however, also represents his childhood and his lack of independence. As Sinclair recognizes, in confessing to his parents, he escapes not only Kromer's torment, but also the individuality that Demian represents.