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"The Glass Bead Game", Chapter 2, Waldzell 
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Post "The Glass Bead Game", Chapter 2, Waldzell
The Glass Bead Game
Hermann Hesse

Chapter 2
WALDZELL



Mon May 16, 2011 11:05 pm
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Post Re: "The Glass Bead Game", Chapter 2, Waldzell
I've just begun Chapter 2, and it seems that Knecht encounters "challenges" that will shape his future. There is the tug of seduction by a charismatic classmate and his defiance of the headmaster, situations that seem out of character for him. Even his arrival at Eschholz confuses: The colorful, organic complexion of the town speaks to a hibernating place in his soul, and it seems incompatible with the pale stoicism of the campus. Perhaps it is significant that Knecht has begun to adress his issues: He is self-aware enough to recognize his internal struggles; he asks for help; he learns to resolve conflicts. Both Knecht and Plinio sense that the other will be significant to him in later life. I'm don't know how to account for their finely honed intuitions yet, but it seems that each completes the other.
Jung was an influence on Hesse, I believe I've read, and he (Jung) wrote of our "shadow selves." That is, we have dark sides that are the other side of what we reveal. The goal of therapy may be to integrate the two.
I will watch the relationship between Knecht & Plinio: Is one the other's projection, or does each have some of what the other desires to become?
{Note to DL Hesse: I haven't reached pg 105, but I will check in with you when I do.}



Last edited by Murrill on Sat Jun 11, 2011 9:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Post Re: "The Glass Bead Game", Chapter 2, Waldzell
I see in this chapter some seeds of discontent or, at the least, discomfort when Knecht thinks, "Then why were these two worlds apparently unable to live in fraternal harmony, parallel and intertwined; why could an individual not cherish and unite both within himself?" It seems to me that he is questioning the Order and this may lead him to trouble.

DL Hesse mentioned in a post that one should question who were the Order and why did it have the status that it did. (I'm paraphrasing) I still haven't seen this addressed and wonder if it will be. Perhaps the tension suggested between the world of Knecht and Designori will be further manifested later.



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Post Re: "The Glass Bead Game", Chapter 2, Waldzell
I suspect that "tension" might be one of the major themes of this book. He is an adolescent at this point, so we would expect questioning of this sort. Of course, you don't have to be an adolescent to have these kinds of questions! Thusfar it seems that his questions have been tolerated, and in fact he has been encouraged to debate with Plinio. I wonder how much leash the Order will give him.

DLHesse also asked that we consider "Castalia." Greek mythology tells us that Athena transforms a nymph into a fountain named Castalia, and those who drink from it are said to be inspired. It may be no small stretch that the Order would house its pursuit of reflection and academic purity in "inspiration."

We have not discussed the narrator very much. I find him to be annoying but essential. He is a preening, pandering sychophant, I think. On pg. 89 he mentions the deputy music master: "...we are indebted to him for, among other things, a History of Styles in Sixteeth-Century Lute Music." I think Hesse mocks the pretentious and self-important work of these scholars. I cannot help but wonder if the narrator knows that the Emperor is wearing no clothes.



Sat Jun 11, 2011 4:29 pm
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Post Re: "The Glass Bead Game", Chapter 2, Waldzell
lindad_amato wrote:
DL Hesse mentioned in a post that one should question who were the Order and why did it have the status that it did.


This is one big question. From chapter one, I found this quote:
Quote:
. . . those [members of the Order for life] can never--unless they resign the Order--become professional men, such as doctors, lawyers, engineers, and so on. They are subject for life to the rules of the Order, which include poverty and bachelorhood. The common people call them in a half-derisive, half-respectful tone "the mandarins".

Pg. 64.

The “Order” is a pretty controlled environment. It sounds like a monastery to me. I was intrigued by the term “Mandarins”, I have never heard of this term before, this is what I found regarding “Mandarins”.

Quote:
The golden age for the "Mandarin" economist was doubtlessly the post-war period. Perhaps the most critical event in the government-economist relationship was the publication of John Maynard Keynes's General Theory in 1936. The Keynesian Revolution found a theoretical role for interventionist, discretionary government policy in the economy.

http://www.newschool.edu/nssr/het/schools/mandarin.htm

The “Order” is financially dependant on the country in which Castalia is located. I don’t know if the mandarins in the above article has anything to do with GBG, but I often believe that writers such as Hesse are very deliberate and choose their words carefully.

Murrill wrote:
DLHesse also asked that we consider "Castalia." Greek mythology tells us that Athena transforms a nymph into a fountain named Castalia, and those who drink from it are said to be inspired. It may be no small stretch that the Order would house its pursuit of reflection and academic purity in "inspiration."


This is excellent, and you may be on to something. Catalia is like a fountain. The water in a fountain is recycled over and over again, but it does not produce any new water for itself. This is similar to Castalia and the Glass Bead Game players. These players take their game ideas from the past, receive “inspiration” from the past, but they never create anything new. The water in a fountain, even though it does move is stagnant, and without some type of purpose, I would think people would become stagnant too.



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Post Re: "The Glass Bead Game", Chapter 2, Waldzell
Murrill wrote:
DLHesse also asked that we consider "Castalia." Greek mythology tells us that Athena transforms a nymph into a fountain named Castalia, and those who drink from it are said to be inspired. It may be no small stretch that the Order would house its pursuit of reflection and academic purity in "inspiration."


Quote:
This is excellent, and you may be on to something. Catalia is like a fountain. The water in a fountain is recycled over and over again, but it does not produce any new water for itself. This is similar to Castalia and the Glass Bead Game players. These players take their game ideas from the past, receive “inspiration” from the past, but they never create anything new. The water in a fountain, even though it does move is stagnant, and without some type of purpose, I would think people would become stagnant too.

Suzanne, Good point about a fountain being recycled water. I agree with you that the author is very deliberate in his references, so it seems reasonable that he would choose a symbol that is meaningful on several levels. Hesse seems to be have some issues with this cloistered community.



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Post Re: "The Glass Bead Game", Chapter 2, Waldzell
Murrill wrote:
Murrill wrote:
DLHesse also asked that we consider "Castalia." Greek mythology tells us that Athena transforms a nymph into a fountain named Castalia, and those who drink from it are said to be inspired. It may be no small stretch that the Order would house its pursuit of reflection and academic purity in "inspiration."


This is excellent, and you may be on to something. Catalia is like a fountain. The water in a fountain is recycled over and over again, but it does not produce any new water for itself. This is similar to Castalia and the Glass Bead Game players. These players take their game ideas from the past, receive “inspiration” from the past, but they never create anything new. The water in a fountain, even though it does move is stagnant, and without some type of purpose, I would think people would become stagnant too.


Quote:
Suzanne, Good point about a fountain being recycled water. I agree with you that the author is very deliberate in his references, so it seems reasonable that he would choose a symbol that is meaningful on several levels. Hesse seems to be have some issues with this cloistered community.

Given this and the references to the Pope, I'm wondering if Hesse is describing the Catholic Church as being stagnant?



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Post Re: "The Glass Bead Game", Chapter 2, Waldzell
Quote:
Given this and the references to the Pope, I'm wondering if Hesse is describing the Catholic Church as being stagnant?


Could be a reference to a much bigger body of work.... :wink:


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Post Re: "The Glass Bead Game", Chapter 2, Waldzell
hesse wrote:
Quote:
Given this and the references to the Pope, I'm wondering if Hesse is describing the Catholic Church as being stagnant?


Could be a reference to a much bigger body of work.... :wink:


The Bible, perhaps, or maybe literature in general? I'm guessing at this point.
It seems noteworthy that the Order discourages new works of art: Knecht's endeavors to write verse was an act of defiance. (author) Hesse has thrown the reader some crumbs--teases that may come to fruition later.
A few things came to mind as I read this short chapter. The Magister shared with Knecht a story of when he strayed from his path: He neglected his meditation and began to entertain secular ideas. It happened many years prior, but he remarked, "...I am still a little ashamed to talk about it." (pg 104) Such "deviation," if it can be called such, seems to be within the normal dalliance of adolescence, yet it continues to haunt the Magister. I will suggest that Hesse presents the Order as a monastic entity that is shame-based and steeped in ego. There is no small measure of conceit in self-flagellation after all these years. The Order seems to fear scrutiny and shields the "elite" from the temptations of the outside. While students enjoy a certain bit of latitude in choice of studies, the curriculums are monitored. An error in judgement seems enormous in the small, self-centered world of youth, but I would expect an adult to have put it in perspective: It was a "blip" on the radar of his life.
Plinio's role in this story is interesting. He is foil for Knecht's idealistic, insulated world, and he gives the reader a point of reference for comparison. I see the two young men as stones with rough edges: Turn them in a tumbler and over time each has polished the rough edges of the other.



Last edited by Murrill on Sun Jun 12, 2011 5:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Post Re: "The Glass Bead Game", Chapter 2, Waldzell
Although not in the entirety, there is one palpable parallel between TGBG and the bible. That is, the narrator of TGBG hasn't a clue as to the scope of Knecht's insight, just as the Apostles writing the New Testament hadn't a clue as to the scope of Jesus' insight .....


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