Onions and Potatos In the very first chapter, I was reminded of Midnight Children because of Oscar s conversational tone of narrative same as that of Saleem Shinai Once MC was in my mind couldn t help locating similarities both narrators start their stories with the first meeting of their maternal grandparents, both like talking about sex, both of them feel need to hide from the world Oskar in grandmother s skirts, Shinai in laundry box etc Still there are enough differences, MC is magical realism, Tin Drum is about unreliable narratorUnreliable NarratorWhy would you consider a narrator unreliable He is out of mind or delusional, he is a habitual liar, he is full of inferiority or superiority complexes, he had lied to you before, he is full of guilt Oscar fulfills all these conditions The book begins with linesGRANTED I AM an inmate of a mental hospital my keeper is watching me, he never lets me out of his sightHe has lied to his family half his life He himself corrects lies he has told you half a book before putting an asterisk on everything he says He tells you he deliberately stopped growing and faked an accident to provide the world reason for that The fact that a lot of information comes from his drum is not too much satisfying either He is using both first person pronouns and his name to talk about himself at times in the same sentence.
Hence you must take everything he says with a pinch, correction a bowl full of salt It is funny to see how whenever you find a reason to doubt a declaration he wants to maintain, he would run to explanations as if he was telling you his story face to face and had seen you rise your eye brow in doubt.
His schizophrenia, self obsession, and complexes though won t stop him from being witty every page of the book has some really witty play of words on it At times, it gets a bit trying but Oscar is too busy showing off to care about your time.
War and War guilt I look for the land of the Poles that is lost to the Germans, for the moment at least Nowadays the Germans have started searching for Poland with credits, Leicas, and compasses, with radar, divining rods, delegations, and moth eaten provincial students associations in costume Some carry Chopin in their hearts, others thoughts of revenge Condemning the first four partitions of Poland, they are busily planning a fifth in the meantime flying to Warsaw via Air France in order to deposit, with appropriate remorse, a wreath on the spot that was once the ghetto One of these days they will go searching for Poland with rockets I meanwhile, conjure up Poland on my drum And this is what I drum Poland s lost, but not forever, all are lost, but not forever, Poland s not lost forever.
War as such doesn t show up much in the book except a few chapters it contains no soldiers and guns I don t think concentration camps were mentioned even once There are some allegorical elements Oscar s mother the source of harmony in his world dies at onset of war, Oscar polish uncle whom he calls his biological father dies when Poland falls to Russians and his German father dies with fall of Germany trying to swallow Nazi party pin Wartime madness mostly shows up in sexual madness.
Oscar s is attracted alternatively to Rasputin and Goethe in R G R G sequence which seems to show Germany s WWI peace WWII peace sequence.
During the war, Oscar gain popularity as an artist who could break glasses through his voice showing how much Germans loved being shouted at while after war it is his drumming the creative art that gets prominence An entire credulous nation believed, there s faith for you, in Santa Claus But Santa Claus was really the gas man.
However this book uses war references in a different context just as some fiction books refers to classics Oskar is a dwarf with a glass breaking voice and in one scene is seen shouting at enchanted people can you imagine some dwarf with a loud, destructive and seductive voice.
His favorite toy is Tin Drum a common sight in war times, for armies marched on sound of drums His mother was a nurse and he too has a fetish for nurses, red cross nurses another common sight in WWII He may as well have served as war Mascot Like Oscar s drumming, It could have been a enchanting book for people who have lived through the war unlike me who has to google out everything.
Oscar doesn t much like Hitler, but he has a love hate relationship with Jesus Hitler s title Fuhrer literally means guardian so does the word Christ depending upon his mood he doesn t believe in Jesus, believes in Jesus, is a messenger of Jesus, is Jesus himself, is father of Jesus etc In another scene, our dwarf hero is seen leading his street gangs to invade church Hitler brought down synagogues.
The later half of the book is full of symbols of war guilt Besides German father s death in trying to swallow Nazi pin, we have Oscar s fall in an open grave mirroring German fall at end of war and working as gravestone architect too many dead in war but no symbol is as prominent as hunchback he develops when he chose to grow up just a little at the end of war He models for painters often portrayed entirely in black with an increasingly larger hunchback while painters completely ignored his blue eyes comment on the complete negative portrayal of Germany after the war Onion cellar club showed how having lived through war, people were so full of remorse, they were out of tears and needed to peel onions to be able to weep.
An aggressive indifferenceThe clash between art and war is a constant theme They are coming, he whispered They will take over the meadows where we pitch our tents They will organize torchlight parades They will build rostrums and fill them, and down from the rostrums, they will preach our destruction Take care, young man Always take care to be sitting on the rostrum and never to be standing out in front of itBeethoven s big painting in Oscar s house has to give up its supreme position when Oscar s parents had to put in Hitler s painting Beethoven was an artist and was deaf, deaf to the Hitler shouting in front of him That somewhat sums Oscar s attitude towards war He is indifferent to what happens around him, somewhat like Albert Campus and his Stranger but in Oscar, this indifference is too aggressive, almost insane He refused to grow up because he thought grownups were evil and he is constantly running away from the world, looking for solitude in grandma s skirts, under the table his three parents are playing cards on or inside some almirah When there is firing going outside, Oskar spends his time playing cards inside He risks his claimed biological father s life for a new drum repeatedly He betrays both his fathers and his street gang followers to save himself When his whole family is facing a life threat, he is too busy watching the trail of ants on ground.
This indifference attracts an equal indifference from us It is really difficult to sympathize with this guy At times he seems to be trying to make it difficult for us to relate to him this book can be a thousand things, but it is definitively not a melodrama On the size of the bookYou may think that with over 550 pages or this long review, it is a long book do not be deluded by that through its witty pose, it becomes a much, much, much longer book, almost Dickens long Like Dickens, Grass seemed to have perfected each chapter separately with too much detail and wit, rather than trying to keep a natural flow which makes you go to next chapter as soon as you finish one.
One of those books you read and remember them after years of reading masses of other books A masterpiece Re visit 2015 G nter Grass, Nobel winning German novelist, dies aged 87 Description Danzig in the 1920s 1930s Oskar Matzerath, son of a local dealer, is a most unusual boy Equipped with full intellect right from his birth he decides at his third birthday not to grow up as he sees the crazy world around him at the eve of World War II So he refuses the society and his tin drum symbolizes his protest against the middle class mentality of his family and neighborhood, which stand for all passive people in Nazi Germany at that time However, almost nobody listens to him, so the catastrophe goes onDid you spot Charles Aznavour in there Powerful film of a powerful novel Sherbet fizzRe read details As Hitler rises to power, three year old Oskar decides he doesn t want to grow up Stars Phil Daniels and Kenneth Cranham Broadcast on blurb Classic novel of the rise and fall of Hitler as seen through the eyes of the dwarfish narrator, Oskar Matzerath.
Not caring for the world he is growing up in, a small boy determines to remain a child The epic sweep of Grass novel satirises German nationalism and the rise and fall of the Nazi movement.
Brilliant portrayal of a youngster in denial of real life This theme has been loosely followed up in Cabaret and Pan s Labyrinth.
The plot, characters, and setting are all top notch, but what makes Drum a stellar read is its tone A reviewer might have described it as sardonically irreverant had not Waiting for Guffman been the source of the phrase Dripping with arrogance and wit against a macabre backdrop, The Tin Drum follows our sturdy at three feet protagonist Oskar from his vivid recollections of his own birth through Hitler s occupations of Danzig, DE and Oskar s familial Poland through many other no doubt exciting and bleak adventures that I haven t yet encountered in reading A tangent on the toneOskar s concern for his selfish desires while bullets are firing around him, etc make me laugh, but also make me remember in different contexts how I reacted to the most horrific events of my own lifetime I kept a diary in middle school and took great care to document events like the OKC bombing with the utmost reverence and professionalism But the truth was, the day of the bombing sucked because we had to wait outside in our show choir dresses in the rain because some kid called in a copycat bomb threat to our school the same day And that s the side of the story that The Tin Drum presents that s what separates this story from so many others written with similar subject matter and makes this one the diamond in the rough.
Quickly, one other observation or tangent before I get back to reading or watching Letterman I ve been reading up on my Greek and Roman gods to get better at crosswords, and just the other day, I read the story of Cupid Cupid aka Eros , the god of Love, is depicted as a child, like a tiny cherub Cupid was a mama s boy mama Venus and never left her side Venus was worried that her son would never grow, but some wise god or other told her that Cupid would never grow until he himself found love And until then, Cupid was a mischievous god he would shoot his arrows at people to make them fall in love, yes, but he would often shoot at people who were mismatched or who didn t want to fall in love He was never without his arrows and went on, rooted somewhere between love and mischief, until he fell in love with oh, I forget who it was But you can see the parallels I believe that Grass s Oskar is the story of Cupid told through a series of anecdotes set in WWII Germany I bet Grass as a young child was obsessed with the story of Cupid and his struggle between right and wrong the way young Oskar is obsessed with reading the contrasting material of Rasputin and Goethe And in art, Cupid is repeatedly depicted as a young naked boy of 3 or 4 with fair skin and shiny golden locksexactly like Oskar and exactly like the semblance of Jesus upon which Oskar is fixated I have to believe that Grass the author married his own childhood obsession with the mischeivous physically stunted Cupid with a tongue in cheek account of his own wartime experiences and yielded one of the greatest works of the twentieth century But hey, it s just a theory.
462 Die Blechtrommel The Tin Drum, G nter GrassThe Tin Drum, is a 1959 novel, by G nter Grass The novel is the first book of Grass s Danziger Trilogie Danzig Trilogy , and winner of the Nobel Prize in literature It was adapted into a 1979 film, which won both the Palme d Or, in the same year, and the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film the following year The story revolves around the life of Oskar Matzerath, as narrated by himself, when confined in a mental hospital, during the years 1952 1954 Born in 1924 in the Free City of Danzig now Gda sk, Poland , with an adult s capacity for thought and perception, he decides never to grow up when he hears his father declare that he would become a grocer Gifted with a piercing shriek that can shatter glass or be used as a weapon, Oskar declares himself to be one of those clairaudient infants , whose spiritual development is complete at birth and only needs to affirm itself He retains the stature of a child while living through the beginning of World War II, several love affairs, and the world of postwar Europe Through all this, a toy tin drum, the first of which he received as a present on his third birthday, followed by many replacement drums each time he wears one out from over vigorous drumming, remains his treasured possession he is willing to commit violence to retain it 2001 1379 733 9649113029 20 1380 793 9644481666 1959
Oskar himself chose the easy way out, deliberately refusing to grow up and accept moral guidelines, and in the end, he chose the asylum as the best place to write his unreliable, yet truthful account on the brutal times he called his own.
What do you do if you missed that point at age three to stop growing, but you have been gifted the curse of hearing the noise of the world Sanity is a scary mindset, and hard to carry for long stretches You tend to lose parts of it when the world heats up, and you never can be entirely sure you still have it, even when you check it every so often One of the requisites of sanity is to disagree with the majority of the British public That is Oscar Wilde s conclusion, and Oskar Matzerath may well have come to the same conclusion about his own environment, in reverse if this Germany is sane, I better be on the other team The Tin Drum to me is one of the most oppressively true novels ever written, on equal terms with Midnight s Children or One Hundred Years of Solitude for its exploration of human irrationality and excess In some respects it is difficult to digest because it hits closer to home But at the same time, it enhanced the powerful effect of the Asian and South American versions of human failure to live properly as I know from The Tin Drum that the deeper truth of chaos is a sane description of reality than the insane project of writing objective accounts.
Oskar is drumming at full force, and some of his naughty brothers who refused to grow up a long time ago don t have the required wisdom and sanity to get themselves locked away before causing harm than the planet can take.
Do you hear the noise