Book Notes

Chapter 12: Good Friday Fare Notes from The Tin Drum

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The Tin Drum Chapter 12: Good Friday Fare

Oskar was mad at Jesus for not drumming, but glad the drum was all his. He was angry that the windows did not break, but the fact that they did not preserved his Catholic faith.

Matzerath, who was a Protestant, closed the store on Good Friday. He, Oskar, Agnes, and Jan took a streetcar to a beach resort, which was still mostly boarded up, as it was mid-April. On the way they passed Saspe cemetery, where Agnes said she'd like to be buried. Alfred thought the soil too sandy. Once there, they walked along the beach and saw no one save a lone old man sitting on the breakwater. He had a wriggling sack next to him and held onto a clothesline that disappeared into the water. The man, with a tobacco stained smile, pulled in the clothesline. Although ready to leave, Oskar's group stayed to watch. The man climbed down the rocks and heaved a severed horse's head, attached to the clothesline, onto the breakwater. Clinging to the black horse's head were green eels, which the man pulled off the horse and put in his bag, which Matzerath held. The man pulled open the horse's mouth and pulled out two large eels from the horse's throat, causing Agnes to throw up her breakfast. Circling seagulls swooped down and ate what Agnes had disgorged. The man pulled an eel out of the horse's ear, spilling the horse's brains out of its head.

Jan, though weak, led Agnes away. Matzerath bought four of the eels. The man explained that the bag was full of rock salt, which caused the eels to wriggle to death and scrape off their slime. The practice was illegal, but the man did it anyway. Oskar left Matzerath and the old man and found Jan and Agnes; Jan's hand was in Agnes' shirt, and Agnes' hand was in Jan's coat pocket.

The group took the streetcar home, and Alfred promised to make the eels for dinner, which Agnes didn't want. She smoked in public, which Alfred didn't like. Once home, an argument over the eels and Oskar falling down the stairs ensued. Sick of it, Oskar went into Alfred and Agnes' bedroom and hid in the clothes closet, completely motionless. He thought back to his visits with the doctor, Dr. Hollatz who had his assistant, Sister Inge, perform experiments on Oskar. He envisioned her crisp white uniform and her brooch with a red cross.

Topic Tracking: Red & White 9

Alfred had put the cooked eels on the table, but Jan and Agnes refused to eat them. Agnes began to scream in Kashubian, which Alfred could not understand. Agnes came into her room, with Oskar in the closet, and wept on the bed. At Alfred's request, Jan came in to pacify her and when words didn't work, he put his hand inside her dress until she stopped crying. Alfred dumped the eels in the toilet and made scrambled eggs with mushrooms for dinner; the three adults passed the time by playing skat all night long.

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