"Narcissus and Goldmund" Analytical Essay by writingsensation

"Narcissus and Goldmund"
Examines attitudes towards women in Hermann Hesse's work, "Narcissus and Goldmund".
# 67926 | 2,687 words | 5 sources | MLA | 2005 | US
Published on Jul 24, 2006 in English (Analysis) , Literature (German)

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In "Narcissus and Goldmund", Hesse imagines women as aspects of the archetypal, universal Mother. The paper shows that this abstraction endows the feminine with a mystical power and stature, while simultaneously creating a stereotype which may serve to eclipse the desires and personhood of the individual woman. The paper shows that while it is possible to argue that Hesse shows a streak of misogyny, it might be more accurate to say merely that he idealizes women and is puzzled by them, and that some of his characters through this puzzlement in their private lives efface women.

From the Paper:

"Many other women also feel his slights when they try to approach him as complete humans rather than merely symbols of the Mother. For example, poor Maria --who is not beautiful enough to attract his attentions as he becomes more demanding of the Mother's beauty-- is not treated as if she were wholly human and he passes right over her feelings, though she loves him very deeply. Lene, as well, who ends up carrying his child, is hushed and even threatened (with losing her home and him) when she speaks of wanting him to give up his wandering ways and stay with her. She is forced to be falsely carefree and undemanding, even though her actual female nature seeks to keep and to nurture."

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