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Date: 07.10.2017

The Firebug (1954)

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Plot summary[ edit ] The story revolves around the life of Oskar Matzerath, as narrated by himself when confined in a mental hospital during the years — Gifted with a piercing shriek that can shatter glass or be used as a weapon, Oskar declares himself to be one of those "clairaudient infants", whose "spiritual development is complete at birth and only needs to affirm itself".

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He retains the stature of a child while living through the beginning of World War II , several love affairs, and the world of postwar Europe. Through all this, a toy tin drum, the first of which he received as a present on his third birthday, followed by many replacement drums each time he wears one out from over-vigorous drumming, remains his treasured possession; he is willing to commit violence to retain it.

After marrying Alfred, Maria gives birth to Kurt, whom Oskar thereafter refers to as his son. But Oskar is disappointed to find that the baby persists in growing up, and will not join him in ceasing to grow at the age of three.

During the war, Oskar joins a troupe of performing dwarfs who entertain the German troops at the front line. But when his second love, the diminutive Roswitha, is killed by Allied troops in the invasion of Normandy , Oskar returns to his family in Danzig where he becomes the leader of a criminal youth gang akin to the Edelweiss Pirates. The Russian army soon captures Danzig, and Alfred is shot by invading troops after he goes into seizures while swallowing his party pin to avoid being revealed as a Nazi.

Mounting tensions compel Oskar to live apart from Maria and Kurt; he decides on a flat owned by the Zeidlers. Upon moving in, he falls in love with Sister Dorothea, a neighbor, but he later fails to seduce her. During an encounter with fellow musician Klepp, Klepp asks Oskar how he has an authority over the judgement of music.

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They are discovered by Mr. Schmuh, who invites them to play at the Onion Cellar club. After a virtuoso performance, a record company talent seeker discovers Oskar the jazz drummer and offers a contract. Oskar soon achieves fame and riches. One day while walking through a field he finds a severed finger: He then meets and befriends Vittlar. Oskar allows himself to be falsely convicted of the murder and is confined to an insane asylum , where he writes his memoirs.

The novel is divided into three books.

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The main characters in each book are: Writes his memoirs from to , age 28 to 30, appearing as a zeitgeist throughout historic milestones. Politically sided with the Poles. Politically sided with the Nazi Party.

A Jewish businessman in Danzig who owns the toy store where Oskar gets his tin drums. The store is ruined during the Danzig Kristallnacht. Girl hired by Alfred to help run his store after Agnes dies and with whom Oskar has his first sexual experience.

Runs the theatrical troupe of dwarfs which Oskar joins to escape Danzig. Danzig street urchins gang, Oskar leads as "Jesus" after he proves his mettle by smashing all the windows with his voice at the abandoned Baltic Chocolate Factory. Self-proclaimed communist and jazz flautist. Style[ edit ] Oskar Matzerath is an unreliable narrator , as his sanity, or insanity, never becomes clear.

He tells the tale in first person , though he occasionally diverts to third person , sometimes within the same sentence. There are elements of allegory , myth and legend , placing it in the genre of magic realism. The Tin Drum has religious overtones, both Jewish and Christian.

Oskar holds conversations with both Jesus and Satan throughout the book. His gang members call him "Jesus", then he refers to himself as "Satan" later in the book. It was called blasphemous and pornographic by some, and legal action was taken against it and Grass. A new 50th anniversary translation into English by Breon Mitchell was published in