Study Guide

The Tin Drum Skat (Playing Cards)

By Günter Grass

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Skat (Playing Cards)

Alfred Matzerath might be happy that he's taking Jan Bronski's money, but little does he know that Jan and Alfred's wife Agnes are feeling one another up beneath the card table. Throughout this book, skat represents the love triangle between Alfred, Agnes, and Jan. As Oskar tells us early in the book,

The game of skat—which, as you probably know, can only be played by three people—was not just the most suitable game for Mama and her two men; it was their refuge. (4.25)

Jan Bronski eventually meets his end after trying to defend the Polish Post Office. In his final delirious moments, he plays a game of skat with Oskar and a dying man. Once again, the game is a way to deal with an impossible circumstance. Whether it's the threesome at home or at the Polish Post Office, it's a hopeless situation.

The Tin Drum Skat (Playing Cards) Study Group

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