Creating a Personality
Not everyone is allotted the chance to become a personality; most remain types, and never experience the rigor of becoming an individual. But those who do so inevitably discover that these struggles bring them into conflict with the normal life of average people and the traditional values and bourgeois conventions that they uphold. A personality is the product of a clash between two opposing forces: the urge to create a life of one's own and the insistence by the world around us that we conform. Nobody can develop a personality unless he undergoes revolutionary experiences. The extent of those experiences differs, of course, from person to person, as does the capacity to lead a life that is truly personal and unique.
(...) Demian is about a very specific task or crisis in one's youth, which continues beyond that stage, but mostly effects young people: the struggle to forge an identity and develop a personality of one's own.
Hermann Hesse, in 'Soul of the Age: Selected Letters'