"Demian" by Hermann Hesse and the Story of Cain and Able

Essay by eryka_sHigh School, 12th grade May 2006

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The allusion of the story of Cain and Able are very prevalent in Demian. Sinclair and Cain parallel. Hesse uses an alternate translation of the story of Cain and Able, which Demian explains in the beginning of the novel to depict the parallel. Hesse sets up Demian's translation to provide as a guide for Sinclair to find his own meaning in life. Sinclair embarks on a spiritual and personal journey to find out exactly who he is and why he is different. He meets many people who provide insight but it is only Demian, who started the journey, who can finish it.

Sinclair's interior conflict is the difference he feels within himself, feeling as if there are two worlds of good and evil. Sinclair is attracted to the evil one but suppresses his feelings. Just like Cain, Sinclair sins because an evil spirit, in this case Kromer, provokes him.

This is when Sinclair carries the mark just like how Cain, provoked by the devil, carries the mark after he sins by killing his brother. Sinclair becomes progressively in tune with unknown world of evil, by becoming what society considers immoral. Many try to push him away but a few know his mark and welcome him.

When Demian is gone Sinclair uses Pistorius and Alfons Beck as a substitute for insight into the world he is trying to understand. Pistorius teaches him of Abraxas, a God of good and evil. Pistorius is like Sinclair in the fact he wishes to escape from the norm, which he does through music. Sinclair finds comfort in Abraxas who seems like he might be the answer he is looking for.

Alfons Beck is a boy who introduced Sinclair to the world of drinking to which Sinclair is attracted. Drinking is a way...