Characters and Analysis
Harry Haller, or The Steppenwolf
A reclusive middle-aged man. He resents all things bourgeois but nevertheless lives in a distinctly bourgeois boarding house. He refers to himself as Steppenwolf because he believes he is a man of two distinct natures: the lone wolf who rejects society and lives a life of solitary isolation, and the civilized man who has been tamed and made docile by bourgeois society. Harry Haller cannot shake the tension between these two aspects of himself and as a result, he often feels suicidal despair.
A beautiful young woman, she captures the interest of Harry. Hermine is a prostitute but she has qualities of a cultured woman. She is something of a Romantic ideal, the Madonna-Sophia figure who is also the “noble whore.” Hermine looks strikingly like Harry’s childhood friend Herman which could lead the reader to conclude that she is actually a projection of some part of Harry’s own ego.
Harry’s other beautiful lover. Maria is a passionate young woman who is worldly at least in the realm of love. She is sexually aggressive and this awakens Harry’s hope in life. Harry’s affair with Maria makes him want to connect to humanity and be a part of the world.
Pablo is a popular figure among the people of the world of pleasure. He is a musician and a bandleader, a modern man of the world. Harry dislikes him at first. He thinks he is childish. But he is something of a wise figure, even if he remains mysterious.
The nephew of the woman Steppenwolf rents his room from, he is the one in possession of the manuscript which recounts Harry’s story. The Editor is a sympathetic character who is from the bourgeois world that Harry purports to despise.