Thoughts: Beneath The Wheel

25 Apr

Beneath the WheelBeneath the Wheel by Hermann Hesse
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.” – Albert Einstein

Take this, Hesse…you’ve got sarcasm dripping down onto your shirt.

The story of Hans Geibenrath’s journey toward maturity marks the beginning of Hermann Hesse’s infatuation with the topic. Despite lacking the depth and range of Demian, Beneath The Wheel explores the concept at a truly accessible level. Hesse’s brilliant and poetic style, though kept in relative check through this book, adds to the sheer pleasure of turning these pages.

Hesse explores three major crossroads in Hans’ journey.

First, the academy, and the social institution of scholarship and its general policies, plows irreverently across Hans’ road and he speeds to his right and left chasing the glories of academic fertility. Alongside him, schoolmasters, instructors, priests and parents zoom by with dust, debris and the occasional body spitting behind their vehicles. Hesse sarcastically impales these people and accuses them of repressing the liquor of curiosity naturally imbibed in youth. They tirelessly spark ambitious conceit within the child’s breast and feed the flame of their own pompous self-worth. Split from nature and the instinctive inclination to indulge in youthful fascinations, Hans excels in the world of academia but drowns in the muck of arrogance and reckless ambition.

But Hans cannot escape the natural influence of his peers and eventually gives up scholarly politics and continues along his road. Suddenly, and quite beyond his control, love, or its physiological affectation, intersects his path seemingly from behind. Unlike the academic realm, the fork leading to love cannot be avoided and he cannot turn about and resume his journey from the road he had once traversed. This compulsive turn had revived him, had opened his heart to a very primal physiological state quite opposite from the mental fortifications he had built throughout his youth.

He approaches the last crossroads, filled at every corner with riotous drunkards and cigar-puffing hyenas herded together according to their crafts. The people he had once scorned and at whose existence he had scoffed at, the people he had loathed, who had motivated him to escape their vocational fate, living their kind of deplorable life as base workers and laborers, artisans and tradesmen, now transformed into a kind of living knowledge. Hans saw them now, though through a drunken haze, as men who chose to live what others chose to study from the wall. And beyond this intersection, Hans might have seen his destiny beneath the wheel – grinding down the path of his life under the gloomy routine and dull anguish of the machinist and locksmith.

But that, too, was just a crossroad…

View all my reviews

Leave a comment

Posted by on April 25, 2012 in Hermann Hesse


Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

The Life and Adventures of a Bibliophile

A Love of Language Put Into Words

Lipsyy Lost & Found

Judging books by their covers since the 90s

Exploring Literature

Exploring Literature From Around The World

The Five-Eyed Bookworm

Eclectic Reader. Lover of beautiful book covers.

Redline: Live to Drive!

To share my passion of motorsports to all my readers! To get people of all ages and income levels into the absolute best vehicle possible for their specific needs and to make driving enjoyable every single day!

Consumed by Ink

A word after a word after a word is power. --Margaret Atwood

The Blerd Book Club

Many minds wrapped around a good book.




Read our Mission. Find out how you can help us adopt James.

Hesperus Press

Independent publishers of both contemporary and classic, neglected and translated books.

Nishita's Rants and Raves

about books, movies, restaurants, and anything else under the sun...

This Is Where The Magic Happens

Literature & Other Loves

Tasseled Book Blog

I read, therefore I am

Stories by Mercilo Daviss

Worlds and moments in just a few words. Have a look around and stay awhile.


My project to read the Pulitzer winners for fiction

The View From Sari's World

Where History & Literature Meet

Stuck in the South

If your into books, movies, celebrity gossip, and love hearing about it from a college senior stuck in MS then this is the blog for you!

%d bloggers like this: