Conscientisation in Castalia: A Freirean Reading of Hermann Hesse's The Glass Bead Game (2007)
Type of ContentJournal Article
PublisherUniversity of Canterbury. School of Educational Studies and Human Development
This paper considers Hermann Hesse’s novel, The Glass Bead Game, in the light of Paulo Freire’s educational philosophy. The Glass Bead Game is set in Castalia, a “pedagogical province” of the 23rd century. It is argued that the central character in the book, Joseph Knecht, undergoes a complex process of conscientisation. Knecht develops an increasingly critical understanding of Castalian society, questioning some of its most cherished assumptions while nonetheless deepening his appreciation of the beauty of the Glass Bead Game. He becomes less certain of his certainties as he grows older, and eventually decides to give away his prestigious post as Magister Ludi (Master of the Glass Bead Game) to pursue a quiet life as a tutor. Dialogue plays a key role in the development of Knecht’s critical consciousness. Freirean theory is seen to provide a robust framework for the analysis of key themes in Hesse’s text. At the same time, The Glass Bead Game is helpful in demonstrating the meaning and significance of conscientisation and dialogue for educational lives.
CitationRoberts, P. (2007) Conscientisation in Castalia: A Freirean Reading of Hermann Hesse's The Glass Bead Game. Studies in Philosophy and Education, 26(6), pp. 509-523.
This citation is automatically generated and may be unreliable. Use as a guide only.
KeywordsPaulo Freire; Hermann Hesse; conscientisation; dialogue; literature
ANZSRC Fields of Research39 - Education::3902 - Education policy, sociology and philosophy::390202 - History and philosophy of education
47 - Language, communication and culture::4705 - Literary studies::470517 - Literature in German
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Roberts, P. (University of Canterbury. School of Educational Studies and Human Development, 2008)This paper examines Hermann Hesse’s penultimate novel, The Journey to the East, from an educational point of view. Hesse was a man of the West who turned to the idea of ‘the East’ in seeking to understand himself and his ...
Roberts, P. (University of Canterbury. School of Educational Studies and Human Development, 2012)Philosophers of education have had a longstanding interest in the nature and value of reason. Literature can provide an important source of insight in addressing questions in this area. One writer who is especially helpful ...
Life, Death and Transformation: Education and Incompleteness in Hermann Hesse's The Glass Bead Game Roberts, P. (University of Canterbury. School of Educational Studies and Leadership, 2008)At the end of the main part of Hermann Hesse's classic novel, The Glass Bead Game, the central character, Joseph Knecht, dies suddenly. In this article, I consider the educational significance of Hesse's portrayal of ...