The Way to the Self: The Novel «Steppenwolf» Through the Lens of Jungian Process of Individuation
Anthropological Measurements of Philosophical Research, 2015, 7, 28-35
8 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2018 Last revised: 7 Jun 2018
Date Written: 2015
This paper aims to analyze the life journey of Harry Haller, protagonist of H. Hesse’s novel «Steppenwolf», in the context of Jungian process of individuation. The author has used C.G. Jung’s theory of archetypes, along with hermeneutical methodology. «Steppenwolf» is the story of a man who is dogged by controversy: he feels himself to be a human and a wolf at the same time. Harry Haller learns from the «Treatise on the Steppenwolf» that he has more than two natures. Actually, he consists of hundreds and thousands of them. This idea is based on Jung’s concept of the collective unconscious. And the very novel «Steppenwolf» brightly illustrates Jung’s individuation process. Harry Haller’s mission is to overcome opposition between his social cultural «I» and Shadow (Steppenwolf), to recognize and accept his Anima (Hermine), to understand the mystery of the identity of Pablo, who embodies chthonic depths, and Mozart, who represents sublime spirituality, that is, to comprehend his own Self. In the novel, the human nature is depicted as the eternal struggle and eternal unity of two polarities. Individuals have to realize this unity on their way to the Self. Recognizing, confronting and assimilating the Ego, Anima/Animus, Shadow into the larger realm of the Self, one achieves a new level of consciousness. However, this is a never-ending process, unattainable ideal. At the end of the novel, Harry Haller failed to cope with this challenge. It seems that he has remained at the same point, where we had met him. However, nothing was impossible - everything was just beginning. The questions raised by Jungian analysis push us beyond our limits to the great alchemical mystery - the wholeness of our own souls. For the salvation of humankind as a whole and every single human in our world full of conflicts and violence, we all need to experience the feeling of our spiritual unity and our deep connection to the universe. It becomes possible due to return to our spiritual core, to our Self. The process of individuation is, in fact, the way to infinity. Harry Haller has yet to find his way to himself.
Keywords: Self, Anima, Animus, Persona, Shadow, Individuation
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