Quarantine Chronicles – Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse

Story by Greyson DelGrosso, Staff Writer

Steppenwolf centers around Harry Haller in 1920’s post and pre-war Germany. Harry is an introverted, intellectual, and older loner unhealthy in both mind and body. Inwardly, he struggles with the duality of his nature, his publicly civilized and awkward self versus his private wolfish impulses, which he feels he must contain. 

Roaming the countryside he decided to take up residency in an apartment owned by a kind elderly woman he meets when seeking some lunch. 

His time is spent dwelling on war and the superficial nature of society. Due to his qualms with civilization he vows to commit suicide in order to end his misery, but is halted and angered by his own cowardice. He soon meets Hermine on a bender, whom he feels truly understands him. They strike a bargain. She will teach him to live and he will help her die, to escape her torment at the hand of someone she trusts. 

They embark upon a journey to revitalize Harry and his life. Hermine shows him how to dance, how to laugh, and how to love. 

The story gets more bizarre when Harry enters the Magic Theatre – For Madmen Only, where he experiences debatably drug-induced revelations that open his mind to the universe. Like dreams, these instances are symbolic and profound. These vivid visions redefine Harry’s life, but oh so much is left to be done.