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Maria, a courtesan and friend of Hermine, is Hermine's gift to Haller. Physically beautiful, she is the embodiment of sensuousness and represents for him the fulfillment of sexual desire. Although he has never really enjoyed sexual freedom, with her he quickly becomes a confident lover.
Haller associates Maria with flowers, and when he is with her, he feels he is in a garden of pleasure, alluding to the Garden of Eden. He compares her face to a large flower and her beauty to roses. Of course, flowers quickly fade, and so will Maria. Hermine echoes this thought, when she compares Maria to "a fleeting guest" to be enjoyed to the fullest because she is not going to remain forever. Aware that some unknown destiny awaits him, Haller makes love to Maria with vigor when he is in bed with her for the last time. Although Maria is not his future, she succeeds in teaching him the delight of the senses.
The Landlady's Nephew (The Editor)
The landlady's nephew, also referred to as the Editor of the book, is the person who finds and edits Haller's manuscript. Although little is known about him, he is described as "a middle-class man, living a regular life, used to work and punctuality." His profession is not explained, but he does have a normal job in an office. He befriends Haller because they both live in his aunt's boarding house. Like Haller, he is cultured, attending concerts and public lectures. He is also somewhat conservative, abstaining from smoking and drinking.
Initially the Editor dislikes Haller, judging him to be strange and unsociable. As he gets to know him better, he finds Haller intelligent and likable. When Haller disappears, he misses his presence, but feels certain that he is alive in some other place. When the Editor finds and reads the manuscript about Steppenwolf, he is fascinated and decides to edit it, believing that it will have universal appeal. He sees in the Haller/Steppenwolf conflict a reflection of the sickness of his times.
The landlady is the Editor's aunt and a typical middle-class housewife. She has a great regard for order, respectability, and cleanliness. Her good-heartedness is shown in her sympathy for Haller. She immediately agrees to take him as a lodger, though her nephew expresses doubts about having such a man in the house. Once he is boarding in her house, she respects his privacy and strange schedule, never trying to interrupt him.
The landlady reappears in the story to prove that Haller has begun to change after his first meeting with Hermine. When she invites him to have tea with her, in spite of his unkempt appearance, he immediately accepts. They spend a pleasant hour together, discussing the significance of the newly invented radio and other contemporary issues. Haller, the loner, truly enjoys her company.