Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Book Review Thoughts: Demian by Hermann Hesse

Book: Demian by Hermann Hesse
Genre: Classic-ish
Rating:★★☆ ☆ ☆

Guys. Do you find it weird that kpop led me to this book? I mean, who would think that a Korean band made up of boys ages 19 to 23 would base their extremely popular (I know this crowd thinks they aren't popular, but believe me they are. EXTREMELY!) music videos on an obscure German novel written a hundred years ago?

Who would think?

And who would think that in doing so they would get a gazillion people, including me, to pick up said obscure German novel and actually READ it?

Well, it happened. These boys, this band, known as BTS (Bangtan Sonyeondan in Korean) over the past year has made a series of music videos inspired by this book. Now, because I've been fascinated by the videos, naturally I wanted to check out the book. And besides, I loved it that my two fandoms come together for a time!

BTS winning award after award for their latest album called Wings which is inspired by this book

Well, I must say that after having read the book I'm pretty much just as confused as ever. Here's what I got from the book (spoilers!):

  • a boy (let's call him Sinclair) gets teased by a bully and another kid (let's call him Demian) comes to his rescue and now Sinclair thinks of the rescuer as a sort of savoir
  • when Sinclair goes of to boarding school, he becomes rebellious mostly by drinking way too much. He yearns for contact with Demian but alas, he seems to have disappeared.
  • Then Sinclair sees a girl and basically falls in love... even though he has no contact with her, just the thought of her brings him out of his rebellious stage and he suddenly becomes spiritually enlightened.
  • He draws a picture of her, but somehow, it looks like Demian. Weird.
  • After boarding school, he goes off to college. There he finds another friend who teaches him a sort of religion where Abraxas is the god. And Abraxas is this bird thing, but to be honest, I can't even remember how this bird thing came to be in the story. I think Sinclair drew him too.
  • And then suddenly, Sinclair bumps into Demian again. And they become friends again. In fact Sinclair hangs out at his house a lot. 
  • And falls in love with his mom. LOL! I mean weird. 
  • And they have all sorts of strange over-my-head conversations 
  • And then the war (I think WWI?) starts and both of them go off to fight. 
  • And then Demian dies and the end.

Rap Mon in all his dimpled and genius glory.
So what does that all have to do with the kpop videos? I really don't know! They have wings, and a statue with wings, and a mom named Eva, and you know... maybe I should just go watch all those videos again!!! I think it has more to do with all the strange philosophy and the Abraxas stuff that went over my head than it does this actual story. Rap Monster, (I know his name is strange, but you get used to it. Or we can just call him Namjoon if you'd rather.) who is a genius and the leader of this band, read this book and was so taken with it that he instigated this whole concept. Which I find to be the coolest part of this, shall we say, experience. 

And anyway, at least now I can say I've read the book behind the videos even if I still don't get it. 

And now you want to read the book too, right? AND watch a video? Yes? Well, I can help you with the video part:


  1. Thanks for sharing the picture of RapMon in your post. :) I enjoyed that part, lol. The books seems like it would be way over my head. I might enjoy it if I read it with a class or a group, but not by myself and not while I'm in this slump. Anyway, at least it made for some interesting music videos that we can all enjoy. :)

  2. Yeah, sounds about as confusing as the music videos. Maybe I'm just not artsy enough.



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