The Tin Drum


Grass, Gunter


Günter Grass was a German playwright, novelist, illustrator, graphic artist, poet and sculptor. He was born on 16th October 1927 in Free City of Danzig, Poland and died on 13th April 2015 in Lübeck, Germany.


The novel is about the life of Oskar Matzerath in amoral conditions during and after Hitler’s regime in Germany. Agnes, his mother has love interests for two people out of which one is Alfred Matzerath a German and the other is Jan Bronski, her Polish cousin. Finally she marries Alfred but her affair with Jan Bronski continues. When she gets pregnant with Oskar it isn’t too sure that his father is Matzerath. A tin drum is given to Oskar on his third birthday. To halt his growth he throws himself down the cellar stairs as after observing what the adult world is like he does not feel like being part of it. He does not grow and feels very attached to his tin drum. He screams so loudly that glass around him shatters, whenever someone tries taking the drum away from him.  The Nazis invade the Polish town. Agnes eats raw fish in large amounts and kills herself. On the first day of the war the Nazis kill the Jan Bronski who works at the Polish Post Office. Maria, the peasant cousin of Oscar comes to stay with Oscar and her Father and becomes step mother of Oscar and love interest. She becomes pregnant with Kurt, Oscar’s child, although no one can be sure about whose son Kurt is. However Oscar believes it is his son.

Oscar joins a travelling dwarf’s troupe during the war who perform to escape the war. The second love he meets here ends tragically before the war ends. When he returns home for the funeral of his father, Kurt, his son, hits him with a rock on the head. Oscar starts growing back again, in an instant but unfortunately his chest develops a huge hump.

The Tin Drum