Friday, February 08, 2019

Tin Drum

Tin Drum is narrated by Oskar, a German drummer who is currently confined to a mental institution. He was born in the period after World War I, and lived through World War II and the postwar era. Had had grown up in Danzig, which was a free city in the interwar period and had a predominantly German population. (After World War 2, it became a part of Poland and now has a predominantly Polish population.) The narration regularly switches between first person and third person (even in the same sentence.) It is unclear whether many of the events actually happened, or were just a imagined. (After all, he is in a mental institution.) He seems to think the world has a great appreciation for him and his talents. In one episode, an entire club is "impressed" with his great dancing skills, though his "date" has been scared away. There are also numerous sexual encounters which seem to be more a product of a juvenile imagination gone out of hand, rather than real life. At one time, he is playing in an "onion bar". This curious institution serves up raw onions for the patrons to cut and start crying. This results in emotional sharing. However, his drumming end up being even more powerful emotional stimulants than the onions and he finds himself fired. As a narrator, he is just not all there, but he does tell an interesting story.

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