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Steppenwolf Term Paper

1617 words - 7 pages

Kyle Varanyak
Enriched English IV
Psychological Analysis of Harry Haller
In the novel, Steppenwolf, by Hermann Hesse, is told from the accounts of a “peculiar individual who left this Steppenwolf manuscript behind him” (Hesse 10) by the main character Harry Haller. Harry Haller has issues with the type of society he lives in because he believes that the bourgeoisie has too much control and dictates the middle class lifestyle. In dealing with this middle class problem, he uses his second personality of the Steppenwolf to cope with shunning his living habits of his normal being. This is a psychological problem that is seen as okay according to the magical theater which ...view middle of the document...

The danger is that the magical theatre is an illusion to Harry because he feels that the theatre will set him aside from the Bourgeoisie, but really the theatre is a mind trick that can determine his fate.
Eventually the reader may come to realize that Harry is a schizophrenic. A schizophrenic has trouble with differentiating real and unreal experiences, thinking logically, having normal emotional responses, and behaving normal in social situations (A.D.A.M medical). As told by the author, “he was just as irregular and irresponsible about his meal times as he was about his hours of sleep and wok.” (Hesse 13) which is an example of not thinking logically as a schizophrenic would do. This leads one to believe that the author has led Harry to reject normal thinking and believe in the fact that in a man’s soul may be more than one being. In the accounts of Harry’s life the author describes him as “caught between two ages” (Hesse 22) meaning that by being stuck between young age and old age he is putting himself in a “personal hell” (Hesse 22) that is not necessary for a man that may have a disability.

In the beginning of the novel Harry goes out on a drunken expedition, as bloom says, “After a night of heavy drinking and aimless wandering through the city” (Bloom) and a complication of schizophrenia leads to misuse of alcohol or drugs (A.D.A.M medical), in this case Harry’s problem is drinking which later in the novel evolves into a drug problem also. Harry constantly contemplates committing suicide; Bloom says, “Emotionally deeply disturbed and upset by an unpleasant evening with a former acquaintance, Haller thinks of committing suicide.”(Bloom), which is also another complication of schizophrenia as said by medical institutions such as A.D.A.M medical. The one positive thing that Harry’s drinking led to was the magical theatre sign. In turn, the magical theatre leads to Harry meeting a prostitute that shows him life is so bad after all.
After the Author tells the reader about his perspective of Harry, the actually manuscripts begin to unfold. Once harry finds the sign for the magical theatre he says, “I was freezing and walked on following that track in my dreams, longing too for that doorway to an enchanted theatre, which was for madman only” (Hesse 33), in the quote Harry calls himself a madman because he wants so bad to find out what this theatre is. Though this may be just curiosity, but it is also a sign of not thinking logically, a symptom of schizophrenia. Also during his walk home Harry says, “at every other step were placards and posters with their various attractions, Ladies’ Orchestra, Variete, cinema, ball. But none of these was for me. They were for ‘everybody,’ for those normal persons whom I saw crowding every entrance” (Hesse 33) this makes it seem as if Harry is socially awkward. This is another account where it seems as if Harry shows another trouble that goes along with Schizophrenia by acting abnormally in social...

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