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Book 3, Chapter 39: In the Clothes Cupboard Notes from The Tin Drum

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The Tin Drum Book 3, Chapter 39: In the Clothes Cupboard

Aside from his infatuation with Sister Dorothea, Oskar spent his time inscribing tombstones and posing with the Muse Ulla at the art academy. It was Raskolnikov's idea to paint Ulla dressed as a nurse alongside Oskar and call it "Fool Heals Nurse." It was Oskar's suggestion to paint Oskar as the guilt and Ulla as the atonement (Raskolnikov's only themes).

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Oskar had taken to checking Sister Dorothea's doorknob to see if it was locked. It always was, until one day, as Oskar began to despair, the door opened. He debated; finally it was the thought of Maria, who had taken a new lover, her boss, that made him go inside. The room was windowless and dark. The smell of vinegar was everywhere, although there was no bottle of vinegar to be found. From her comb, Oskar saw she had blond hair that had begun to fall out; this image roused feelings of love in Oskar. Oskar crossed the room to Sister Dorothea's bed and on the way found one of her bras.

"Oskar had nothing but his fists with which to fill the two concavities. They were inadequate. Too hard, too nervous, they were alien and unhappy in these bowls which in my ignorance of their contents I should gladly have lapped up with a teaspoon day after day; I might have experienced a little nausea now and then, for too much of any fare will unsettle the stomach, but after nausea sweetness, such sweetness as to make the nausea desirable, the seal of true love." Chapter 39, pg. 491

Oskar thought Dorothea's bed miserable. He wished she had a white-enameled hospital bed. Oskar examined the clothes cupboard, which was well organized inside. In the hat compartment Sister Dorothea kept books, mostly crime novels. Oskar entered the cupboard and squatted on his heels; he tried to close the doors, but the catch was broken and light seeped in. In the cupboard he came upon a black patent leather belt; Oskar said in the dark it could easily have been one of the eels that caused the death of his mother Agnes after that Good Friday spent on the beach. Sister Dorothea wore that eel when she went out without her nurse's uniform. Oskar did something in the cupboard he had not done for years - he drummed. Then he checked the room for neatness and left.

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