Download a PDF to print or study offline.

Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic


Course Hero. "Steppenwolf Study Guide." Course Hero. 22 Mar. 2018. Web. 21 Jan. 2019. <>.

In text

(Course Hero)



Course Hero. (2018, March 22). Steppenwolf Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved January 21, 2019, from

In text

(Course Hero, 2018)



Course Hero. "Steppenwolf Study Guide." March 22, 2018. Accessed January 21, 2019.


Course Hero, "Steppenwolf Study Guide," March 22, 2018, accessed January 21, 2019,

Steppenwolf | Quotes


A wild longing for strong emotions and sensations seethes in me.

Harry Haller, Section 1

Haller describes his own nature as intense and passionate. More than anything, he dislikes living a life of tame emotions such as contentment. He would rather experience extreme depression, for example, than mild happiness.


The cup was emptied and would never be filled again.

Harry Haller, Section 1

Haller thinks nostalgically of the happier times of his youth but is convinced he will never experience this kind of carefree happiness again.


A man cannot live intensely except at the cost of the self.

Treatise writer, Section 2

The self, in this context, is the persona a person adopts to fit into the world around them. When they are true to their innermost nature, however, this persona can crumble, leaving them outside the bounds of society.


Harry consists of a hundred or a thousand selves, not of two.

Treatise writer, Section 2

The writer of the "Treatise on the Steppenwolf" expresses Haller is far more than just man and wolf. Haller has an infinite number of selves he has never explored.


You should not take old people who are already dead seriously.

Goethe, Section 4

Goethe, an immortal, cautions Haller against taking too grim a view on life. Haller expects and finds misery wherever he turns, including in Goethe's writing, even though Goethe himself supported an optimistic view on life.


Look out! I am going to play with you for life and death, little brother.

Hermine, Section 5

While Hermine sets a playful tone with Haller, she is utterly serious in her intent. She is about to challenge Haller to fall in love with her and then kill her, a gruesome task she says he must obey.


It's high time you slept with a pretty girl again, Steppenwolf.

Hermine, Section 6

Hermine often encourages Haller to indulge in the pleasures of life he has long denied himself, either through a sense of propriety or judgment or through a feeling of low self-esteem. While Haller may protest that he is an old man, Hermine reminds him there is plenty of life left in him and he should live it fully.


And suddenly I heard this fathomless laughter around me. I heard the immortals laughing.

Harry Haller, Section 7

After a deep conversation with Hermine about the meaning of life, Haller has a moment of clarity about the immortals. They laugh with lighthearted joy because they have passed through the pains of life. This insight helps him better understand his own quest to become an immortal and achieve a state of divine consciousness.



Harry Haller, Section 8

Haller reads these words on his coat-check card. In order to enter the Magic Theater he must be willing to give up the fixed ideas of his mind and to examine parts of himself he has ignored or suppressed. This message hints Haller's old mindset will be shattered; his mind will not be the same again after admittance.


I was myself no longer. My personality was dissolved in the intoxication of the festivity.

Harry Haller, Section 8

Haller finally releases his worries and judgments and throws himself with relish into enjoying the music, dancing, and simply being alive. In doing so he achieves a transcendent state of bliss and of "being in the now" in which his perceived personality doesn't matter.


Behind each door exactly what you seek awaits you.

Pablo, Section 8

While these words may sound like a heavenly invitation, what Haller the Steppenwolf seeks is actually his own destruction and death. His experiences in the Magic Theater thus become a hell of danger, blood, and violence. Haller also seeks love, as seen in the room, "ALL GIRLS ARE YOURS."


You may yourself as an artist develop the game of your life and lend it animation.

Chess player, Section 10

The chess player explains to Haller how to order the various pieces of his life in order to play out countless scenarios. It is up to the player to determine how the game (life) will unfold.


This Magic Theater was clearly no paradise. All hell lay beneath its charming surface.

Harry Haller, Section 11

After seeing his two prominent personas (man and wolf) square off in a disturbing, bloody scenario, Haller realizes the Magic Theater encompasses all aspects of life, not just the pleasant ones.


You are willing to die, you coward, but not to live.

Mozart, Section 13

Mozart mocks and reprimands Haller because he is so willing to commit suicide or be executed, yet he shrinks from the painful and confusing work of self-examination and personal change.


One day I would be a better hand at the game.

Harry Haller, Section 13

Haller has gained an understanding of how he is responsible for directing his own life through the power of his mind and the choices he makes. He sets his intention to improve at this game of life rather than to further contemplate escape via suicide.

Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about Steppenwolf? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!