Nobel Prize in Literature winner Hermann Hesse has a very introspective approach to writing. I first encountered it in his renowned work, Siddhartha. It was profound, thought-provoking and exhilarating. I can say the same with Demian. It was an interesting take on finding one’s self. It was masterfully written and flowed with amazing quotes. Some of these quotes I took note of.

Here are some of my top picks from this coming-of-age masterpiece.


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“The bird fights its way out of the egg. The egg is the world. Who would be born must first destroy the world.”
Hermann Hesse, Demian

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“The things we see are the same things that are within us. There is no reality except the one contained within us. That is why so many people live such unreal life. They take the images outside them for reality and never allow the world within to assert itself.”
Hermann Hesse, Demian

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“That is the way leaves fall around a tree in autumn, a tree unaware of the rain running down its sides, of the sun or the frost, and of life gradually retreating inward. The tree does not die. It waits.”
Hermann Hesse, Demian

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“Every man is more than just himself; he also represents the unique, the very special and always significant and remarkable point at which the world’s phenomena intersect, only once in this way, and never again. That is why every man’s story is important, eternal, sacred; that is why every man, as long as he lives and fulfills the will of nature, is wondrous and worthy of consideration. In each individual the spirit has become flesh, in each man the creations suffers, within each one a redeemer is nailed  to the cross.”
Hermann Hesse, Demian

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“Love must not entreat or demand. Love must have the strength to become certain within itself. Then it ceases merely to be attracted and begins to attract.”
Hermann Hesse, Demian 

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“I have no right to call myself one who knows. I was one who seeks, and I still am, but I no longer seek in the stars or in books; I’m beginning to hear the teachings of my blood pulsing within me. My story isn’t pleasant, it’s not sweet and harmonious like the invented stories; it tastes of folly and bewilderment, of madness and dream, like the life of all people who no longer want to lie to themselves.”
Hermann Hesse, Demian

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“Our task was to represent an island in the world, a prototype perhaps, or at least a prospect of a different way of life. I, who had been isolated for so long, learned about the companionship which is possible between people who have tasted complete loneliness. I never again hankered after the tables of the fortunate and the feasts of the blessed. Never again did envy or nostalgia overcome me when I witnessed the collective pleasures of others.”
Hermann Hesse, Demian

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“If you hate  a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself. What isn’t part of ourselves doesn’t disturb us.”
~ Hermann Hesse, Demian

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“The impetus that makes you fly is your great human possession. Everybody has it. It is the feeling of being linked with the roots of power, but one soon becomes afraid of this feeling. It’s damned dangerous! That is why most people shed their wings and prefer to walk and obey the law.”
Hermann Hesse, Demian 

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“I don’t mean that you should simply do everything that pops into your head. No. But you shouldn’t harm and drive those ideas that make sense by exorcising them or moralizing about them.”
Hermann Hesse, Demian

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“No. I like listening to music, but only the kind you play, completely unreserved music, the kind that makes you feel that man is shaking heaven and hell. I believe I love that kind of music because it is amoral. Everything else is so moral that I’m looking for something that isn’t. Morality has always seemed to me insufferable. I can’t express it very well.”
Hermann Hesse, Demian

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“You can’t compare yourself with others: if Nature has made you a bat you shouldn’t try to be an ostrich. You consider yourself odd at times, you accuse yourself of taking a road different from most people. You have to unlearn that. Gaze into the fire, into the clouds, and as soon as the inner voices begin to speak, surrender to them, don’t ask first whether it’s permitted or would please your teachers or fathers, or some god. You will ruin yourself if you do that.”
Hermann Hesse, Demian


That’s just about it. How about you, what are your favorite lines from this classic? Share it in the comment box to let me know.

If you haven’t read my review on Demian yet, click on the link below:

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Happy reading!