Friday, 26 April 2013


Book Review 

In the world of academics Hans would have to become very ambitions if he wanted to outstrip his fellow students, but the question was, did he want to? In his early school years he had questions about the abode of human souls after the death of the body but the slogging education pattern subsided them.
What would be the use of all our accumulated intelligence if like the shoemaker we will simply be stitching bows and buckles on our lives shoe house?
The teachers who plant their own ideal in their students take great delight when the raw energies of the wooden sword, the slingshot and other childish games are replaced by calmer moderate ideals. There is much rejoicing when stormy innovations and useless dreamers become happy citizens. Finally the dangerous flame of wisdom is replaced by intelligent books. Homer is studied as if He were a recipe book.
Herman Heilner enters to call ‘all this classical stuff is a big fake’ and instead gives a mirror to his soul and writes verses. He cries openly without wiping his tears where it’s unheard of young men to waste that salty stuff. He just doesn’t care. He’s totally a different piece of creation.  
Teachers at large prefer dumb heads rather than geniuses in their class quite rightly because their task is ‘not to produce extravagant intellects but……sober decent folk’. Educational institutes in short make their students into ‘over worked horses’ who later are ‘no longer of any use’.
The strictness of our education system which treats students like vessels to be filled with intelligent stuff ruin the soul of  these buds cutting off their ‘promise-filled childhood’ and help it to grow ‘a sham life’ which actually can never be a ‘genuine tree’.
Questions are asked to the modern education system. Does this system rob its youth of contentment? Are goals set, too farfetched and instead lead to suicides or a desire less life? Are those who escape suicide saved or do they wear a ‘uniform of melancholy’?
Hesse tells us that life has two roads; one the dirt road and the other the footpath on which the gentlemen walk but the ‘common people prefer the regular country roads’ which have ‘retained their poetry’. Sometimes nature lovers walk on the footpaths but ‘that is either work or a sport but not a pleasure’.
Ultimately it’s the simple shoemaker who catches the murderers of Han’s. It is the educator and the family who finally are responsible. It’s a bitter truth. Life continues ‘full of oddly painful thoughts’ and man continues to live ‘his accustomed existence’.
A book that awakens us to distinguish between self-affirmation and self-destruction. The world had in the beginning of the twentieth century noticed how emotions, soul and instinct could be crushed ‘Beneath the Wheel’ of intellect and ambition. Do we today have anything to learn from Hermann Hesse? We’ll only know when we’ll read and make our own decisions.

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