The Tin Drum

What are the autobiographical elements in The Tin Drum?

gunter grass.

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The Tin Drum is Oskar's autobiography, framed within his current experiences in an asylum for the insane. The story is episodic, relating a jumble of discrete events that are thematically unrelated. Just as we often do not understand the import of events in our own lives, Oskar fails to contemplate the significance of his experiences. One of the author's most potent commentaries on the German war experience may be to refuse to try to extract greater meaning or ultimate truth from the episodes. The same weight is given to every incident, from the decoration of the Duster's cellar to the events of Krystal Nacht. Some events widely considered pivotal to the experience of World War II are never addressed. For example, Oskar never reveals when he became aware of the existence of concentration camps, their purpose, or his feelings about them. The issue is addressed only obliquely, through Fajngold, the Jewish collaborator and concentration camp survivor who is rewarded after the war with the Matzerath's shop and apartment.


The Tin Drum