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It would be helpful, in considering Steppenwolf, to review the characteristics of Surrealism (noting that the word derives from French and means "beyond Realism"). It is important to remember that it is different from Expressionism, which reveals no objective reality, whereas Surrealism distorts reality and often displays subconscious elements.

1. Are the surreal effects in this novel too extreme? Would the story work better if Hesse had subdued the Magic Theatre passages?

2. In a letter written to a reader in 1932, Herman Hesse said, "There is no form without faith, and there is no faith without previous despair, without previous (and also subsequent) acquaintance with chaos." Does this comment help to explain some of the thinking (and believing) behind the story of Steppenwolf?

3. In a foreword to the 1942 edition of the novel, Hesse explained that the suffering in the text leads "not . . . to death, not a decline, but the opposite: a healing." However, the critic Boulby has declared that the "resolution we are offered is: . . spurious." Which of these opposing views squares more accurately with the novel's ending?

4. Hesse wrote Steppenwolf during 1926-27, at a time when he was very unhappy. He wrote to his nephew, in January, 1926, "I'm living, in so far as I'm living at all, in a pressing and living, romantic and magic dream." Does the phrase "romantic dream" come close of describing the novel? Does Hesse's state of mind adequately explain the unusual aspects of it?

5. Which episode in Harry Haller's strange adventure seems to be the most significant in his development (if one can judge his "progress" to be development)? Why is this passage so significant thematically?

6. Do the characters of Hermine and Pablo provide any sense of reality despite their bizarre behavior and clearly symbolic functions? Could—and should— Steppenwolf 395 the author have done more to make them more "believable"?

7. A document entitled the Literary Advisor for German Catholics once declared that this novel was "a venomous, dangerous confusion, venomous in its unbridled sensuality, dangerous in its radical and caustic negation of all values of life...." Do you agree with this comment? Is it valid, or is it the result of a misreading of the novel?

8. Do Hesse's attempts at humor (such as the one in which Harry Haller muses, while watching a biblical film, that the Moses character looks like the poet Walt Whitman) add to the thematic force of the story, or do you think they detract from the novel's otherwise generally serious tone?

9. The literary critic Ziolkowski says that Steppenwolf, along with The Glass Bead Game, is "one of the significant literary documents of the twentieth century, and in form it is the most elaborate and boldest of Hesse's works." Do you agree or disagree? What arguments can be made to support this statement?

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