The Tin Drum

Describe symbolism in The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass

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In Chapter Three, Oskar points out the medium-sized furry brown moth that flings itself helplessly against the overhead lights in his birth chamber as his master. The moth symbolizes Art, which Oskar sees as both life-giving and deadly. It carries with it the promise of immortality, and the lull of oblivion. Oskar believes the moth drums against the light bulb because eventually it will give him freedom from sin, in the form of death. The artist, Grass argues, is as constantly and futilely striving for something as a moth courts the destructive flame.

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The Tin Drum