Style and Technique

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

“The Poet” is a fantasy, or Marchen (fairy tale). As such, one expects it to be imaginative and timeless, which it is. The language is lyrical, rhythmical, and simple, and, despite the exotic setting, the symbolism is not difficult. The lantern lights reflected in the water portray the artist’s extrasensory perception of the link between the world of reality and the world of the spirit. Hesse’s glowing praise of poetry and the revered, purple-robed poet reveal the author’s conviction that the real meaning of life can be found and expressed in art. Finally, the resemblance of Han Fook to his master in the last scene emphasizes Hesse’s vision of the recurring voice of the artist and the timeless essence of his message.