Enlightenment in Narcissus and Goldmund
Hermann Hesse's repeated themes of enlightenment through religion, self acceptance, love, and fate, surface in Narcissus and Goldmund, as Goldmund, a student at Mariabronn cloister, discovers his true calling as an artist and lover. Taking the advice of his diametric, the analytical, dark, and spare Brother Narcissus, a teacher at the cloister who recognizes Goldmund as "a dreamer with the soul of a child," Goldmund acknowledges his suppressed childhood and rediscovers the image of his mother.
Leaving the cloister at Narcissus' advice, Goldmund becomes a wanderer of the medieval countryside, seducing the hearts of women, learning the art of sculpting and painting, and recapturing his childhood. Although she is not physically present at any time, Goldmund's mother plays a significant role in his discovery of himself. Through the revival of her memory in his heart, he is able to accept his life as an artist, not a thinker and give in to the temptations of love.
"Mother had been a subject he was forbidden to mention-something to be ashamed of. She had been a dancer, a wild and beautiful woman of noble, though poor birth."(56) Goldmund remembers little of his childhood and next to nothing of his mother. He had filled this void with the thoughts instilled by his father to lead a holy life to pay for his mother's mischief. These impressions made upon Goldmund before he came to Mariabronn lead him to believe his destiny was with the church. "But as soon as [his] mother reappeared, [he] knew the meaning of love again and [his] father's image had suddenly shrunk...