Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The Tin Drum - post VI

If it was not for the events happening all around Oskar in terms of his trip to see the French coastal defences and the collapse of the German forces then it would have been even harder to stick with this book. The main character is a combination of useful observer and annoying oddball that sometimes tips too much in the direction of the latter for comfort.

Bullet points between pages 262 – 344

* Oskar discovers that after an encounter that starts out innocently sharing fizz bombs it develops into a bed sharing sexual relationship with Maria that he states ends with the a pregnancy that is responsible for the creation of his son Kurt

* But Maria has an affair with his presumptive father and as a result of the pregnancy the grocer marries her and views the child as his own when it is finally born and although he makes a promise to buy a drum for his third birthday Oskar has very little to do with Kurt

* Part of that might be because he does attempt twice to force a miscarriage and so Maria must have her doubts about the suitability of him being near the child

* This story of the past is intercut with Maria popping up at the hospital in 1953 – the date is given away by Stalin’s death – to visit Oskar and bring him new drums and a radio but she disappears the minute be produces the fizz powder

* Back in the past Oskar starts an affair with fellow grocer Grieff’s wife and the pair are almost given the husband’s blessing while the old paedophile starts to build machines to get exact weights and measures

* In the end, faced with a charge of unmoral conduct and having been informed one of his favourite scouts has died in action the old scoutmaster hangs himself with a device that measures his weight in potatoes exactly down to the last pound

* Then Oskar meets his old friend the circus midget Bebra who recruits him to an acting troop that goes to lift the morale of troops but they are caught up in the invasion by the Allies of the French coast and he returns to Danzig to face a bemused family who have not known where he has been for a year

* He hands over a drum to Kurt on his third birthday hoping history will repeat itself but the toddler smashes the instrument and hits Oskar with the wreck of a boat he had been given as a present

More tomorrow…

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