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TERM PAPER IDEAS AND OTHER TOPICS FOR WRITING
1. Steppenwolf is described as the most autobiographical of Hesse's novels. Drawing on Hesse's biography, discuss the similarities and/or differences between Harry Haller and Hesse.
2. Steppenwolf has been called a psychoanalytic novel. Discuss Hesse's psychoanalytic influences in terms of the novel's content.
3. Describe the "framework" form of Steppenwolf and its literary purpose.
4. Discuss Hermann Hesse's 1942 "Postscript to Steppenwolf," which says that it is a novel of healing and hope. Do you agree or disagree?
5. Describe the three first-person narrators of Steppenwolf, in terms of point of view and writing style. What does the author accomplish by using three different voices?
6. Choose three of Harry's experiences in the Magic Theater, and analyze their possible meanings.
7. Harry detests the middle class and yet chooses to live in middle-class
surroundings. Describe Harry's contradictory attitudes.
8. Describe the various changes in Hermine, Maria, and Pablo as they occur in "reality," at the Masked Ball, and in the Magic Theater.
9. Steppenwolf has been compared with Goethe's Faust. What are the similarities and differences?
ON STEPPENWOLF AND SIDDHARTHA
1. Describe Hesse's treatment of time in both novels.
2. Compare Hermine and Kamala, the similarities and differences in their characters, and their relationship with the hero in each novel.
3. Transformations from one sex to the other occur in both novels. Describe these episodes. What is their meaning?
4. Hesse uses different devices for dividing reality from fantasy and spirituality from materialism in the two novels. Explore his methods.
5. Harry Haller hears the laughter of the Immortals, and Siddhartha hears the laughter of the river. What is the meaning of laughter in each novel?