Study Guide

The Tin Drum What's Up With the Ending?

By Günter Grass

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What's Up With the Ending?

Black was the Cook always somewhere behind me.
And now she comes toward me at last all in black.
Her words and her garments all twisted and black.
And the debts she pays are all paid in black.
And children who sang: Is the Black Cook coming?
No longer need ask, they'd better start running.
Better start running, the Black Cook's coming!
Ha! Ha! Ha!

You probably remember the earlier sections of the book where Oskar talks about young children chanting the nursery rhyme about the "Black Cook" coming to get them. But in this case, Oskar treats the Black Cook as a sort of grim reaper. He realizes at the end of his story that death has hovered over all the events in his life: the deaths of his family, Bebra and Roswitha, Kristallnacht, the hanged soldiers, the destruction of his hometown. And he's left with the feeling that it's not over. The future doesn't look hopeful; death isn't finished with him. If he gets out of the hospital, he'll have to keep running, with the Black Cook at his heels.

The Tin Drum What's Up With the Ending? Study Group

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