Book Notes

Chapter 30: The Christmas Play Notes from The Tin Drum

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The Tin Drum Chapter 30: The Christmas Play

The first thing Oskar did when he took over the Dusters was demand to be introduced to and ally with Moorkähne, the leader of the other faction of Dusters. Moorkähne also recognized Oskar as Jesus. The storeroom and treasury of the Dusters was Putty's basement - it was filled with stolen army surplus, including several guns. Oskar made them bury the guns in the back yard and give him the firing pins, for he didn't want to use that type of weapon. At the time, the Duster's assets amounted to two thousand, four hundred twenty Reichmarks. Later, when they were forced to confess, the police counted their assets at thirty-six thousand Reichmarks.

Oskar never went on the Duster's expeditions - he scouted for them during the day, then sang out the windows of the targeted building at night from inside Mother Truczinski's apartment. He would then eat baked apples as the Dusters were busy looting government property. He was never present for the raids, and cannot say if it was the Dusters who drowned two Patrol Service officers in September 1944. He maintains however, that contrary to legend, the Dusters were autonomous - they were not directed by Edelweiss pirates or grownup Polish Nationalist groups. Once, the group had been approached by a grownup communist party, but the schoolboys couldn't be bothered with ideology. Their fight was against all grownups. A few of the boys broke off and joined with the communists, however, and they were replaced by Felix and Paul Rennwand, both choirboys at the church of the Sacred Heart. Their sister, Lucy Rennwand, was allowed to attend their swearing in - the boys placed their left hands on Oskar's drum, which they thought of as their symbol.

Oskar and the Dusters began to decorate Putty's basement with stolen items from churches. Oskar's aim was to erect a complete nativity set in the basement. Finally, the boys broke into the church of the Sacred Heart - actually, they were let in by Felix and Paul. Oskar had them all genuflect as they entered, then Firestealer went to work on the Virgin Mary/baby Jesus/John the Baptist statue with a saw. He took half an hour to saw off John the Baptist from Mary's thigh. Then Bouncer, Felix, and Lionheart took forty minutes on the baby Jesus. Moorkähne had not shown up with his faction, making the boys nervous. When Jesus was placed on the ground, his halo broke off. The sculpture was hollow cast over an iron skeleton. Oskar noticed the general malaise of the boys and knew something had to be done. He had Störtebaker lift him into the place where the baby Jesus had been. Narses and Bluebeard shone their flashlights at Oskar on the Virgin Mary's lap. Mister came out dressed as a priest. The Rennwands came out dressed in red and white choirboy uniforms. Mister proceeded to give the boys a full Mass. Oskar, on the statue, substituted drum solos for hymns.

Topic Tracking: Red & White 14

The police burst in with their flashlights, but Oskar stayed on the statue and the boys remained kneeling. Lucy Rennwand was among the police - she had ratted the boys out. Just as in the post office, Oskar reverted to acting like a three-year-old and played the victim in Father Wiehnke and Lucy's arms as the boys were led away. Oskar was put on trial with the boys, but was acquitted. Oskar calls the trial the second trial of Jesus.

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