Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Tin Drum - post IV

Each chapter seems to have a theme and although they are interrelated because the story is being told in a chronological way. But there is a two-fold process happening with his talking about growing up but also covering off big issues like religion and the death of his mother.

If you were to look at the themes of the first 150 pages of the book - apart from the obvious one of Oskar and his odd ambition to remain at the height of a three year old and play a tin drum all the time – then there are quite a few to deal with.

Firstly, there is the question of adultery with Oskar never really knowing who his father is with the choice being between his mother’s two lovers. Then there is a question of identity with the growing tension caused by the Nazi’s and the question marks over the value of pushing a Polish identity. Finally there is a theme of guilt with not only Oskar’s presumptive father having to live with the knowledge he left the cellar door open that caused Oskar’s accident but also the guilt felt by his mother with her sexual relationships and even the guilt Oskar makes others feel when he helps them become thieves. Finally, and it goes almost without saying, there is the theme of size with those who are small able to make observations and disrupt political meetings in a way anyone larger would fail to achieve.

Bullet points between pages 126 – 190

* Oskar is taken to church with his mother and receives a blessing but remains convinced that despite the priests words against Satan he has still go the devil sitting on his shoulder encouraging him to sing and break glass

* Then the scene shifts to a bank holiday day out that takes the mother and her two lovers to the coast where they come across an old fisherman hauling on a line that turns out to have a horses head attached

* As the fisherman picks off the eels the mother wretches and following the experience is never quite the same and start eating massive amounts of fish and drinking fish oil until it kills her

* Despite the other thoughts in her head Oskar is blamed for the death by gossips who say that the mother had been driven top the brink by his drumming but Oskar genuinely misses her and starts to notice gaps in his life she used to fill

* There then follows a great chapter when Oskar and a friend who has been in numerous fights and has scars all across his back spend some time with a cursed figurehead from a boat that has caused numerous deaths in its history

* While Oskar is allowed to spend time with his friend who is a museum guard they have the confidence to face the cursed figurehead but when left alone the survivor of numerous fights ends up killing himself as he tries to carve himself into the figurehead with the aid of an axe

More tomorrow...

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