The Tin Drum Background

The Tin Drum Background

The Tin Drum is a novel written by Gunter Grass and published in 1959. The protagonist of the novel is named Oskar Matzerath, who is telling the readers the story of his life from a mental institution. The novel is set mostly in Danzig, Poland, which is where Nazism arose in the “Free City” and also where Grass spent his own childhood. Interestingly, while the novel is about Nazism and how Germans were not reflecting on the horrible things the Nazi government had done, Grass was actually a member of the Waffen-SS when he was 17. The Waffen-SS was one of the worst military arms of the Nazi party.

In The Tin Drum, Oskar is a young boy who doesn’t want to grow into the adult life that everyone else eventually grows into. When he is three, Oskar decides to stop growing. When he turned three, he received a toy tin drum and he uses that to deal with everything, from his family to politics, by drumming. However, this drum isn’t just a stress reliever; he can control other people using the drum. Oskar can remember things that happened anytime during his life as well as predict things that will happen. In addition, the plot is further complicated because Oskar has completely matured in his mental capacities, his narcissism, and his demonic thoughts, yet he still looks like a child.

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