Book Notes

Chapter 11: No Wonder Notes from The Tin Drum

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The Tin Drum Chapter 11: No Wonder

Oskar laments the fact that he lost his glass-breaking voice ability in the year before he was committed to the institution. When he saw his friend Vittlar, he was reduced to using the man's first name, Gottfried, because his voice was so lowly.

The incident with Jan and the necklace put a temporary end to Oskar's temptations. At that time, however, Agnes found religion; Oskar says she did so because she had fallen into a routine of sin with Jan Bronski. So she went and confessed to Father Wiehnke every Saturday at the Church of the Sacred Heart.

Oskar remembers his baptism, which Father Wiehnke had performed. During the ceremony he had asked if Oskar would renounce Satan. Before Oskar could shake his head (even though he was an infant), Jan Bronski said he would. Oskar says he had no intention of renouncing Satan: once outside and waiting for a taxi, Oskar says:

"I asked the Satan within me: 'Did you get through it all right?'
Satan jumped up and down and whispered: 'Did you see those church windows? All glass, all glass!'"
Chapter 11, pg. 137

There were three colored sculptures of Jesus in the church. The first was of a frowning Jesus whose robes were open, exposing a bleeding heart. In this sculpture, Oskar saw a striking resemblance to Jan Bronski, his presumptive father. The second sculpture showed Jesus with his eyes closed and muscles bulging from underneath his robes: Jesus the divine athlete. The third sculpture showed the Virgin Mary with two young boys seated on her right leg of her lap - Jesus and John the Baptist. Mary was looking at John, who was clothed, and didn't notice Jesus, who was naked. Baby Jesus Sculpture. Oskar identified with the two little religious figures, going so far as to say that the Jesus was his "spit and image."

Topic Tracking: Individuality/Identity 6

Oskar climbed the steps to the sculpture, then stroked and pressed the naked sculpture's uncircumcised penis; Oskar felt a strange and disturbing sensation within himself as he did so. He climbed the sculpture and hung his drum around the sculpture's neck. He stuck his drumsticks into the boy's hands. He waited for Jesus to drum; this test would determine who the real Jesus was - Oskar or Jesus himself. Jesus did not drum. Oskar did a drumming demonstration to teach Jesus, but this only drew attention from Father Wiehnke, who cracked the sculpture in removing the drum. Oskar kicked and bit Father Wiehnke to get back his drum, then ran away, Satan jumping inside of him. Oskar tries to sing out some of the windows of the church, but he failed, lamenting the fact that it was almost Easter and Jesus would be in charge.

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