Study Guide

The Tin Drum Chapter 11

By Günter Grass

Chapter 11

No Miracle

  • Back in the asylum, Oskar feels bad again about having lost his ability to shatter glass. He returns to his story of helping Jan take the necklace, and says that this event put a temporary end to his temptation project.
  • He tells us how his mother used to take him to church with her. She was Catholic and Alfred was Protestant, so she'd go to church without her husband.
  • All these years later, Oskar can very clearly remember the church his mother brought him to. He can recall how impressed he was by all the statues and stained glass windows in the church.
  • He spends a long time reminiscing about the crucifix at the front of the church, which showed Jesus hanging from the cross. He thinks that Jesus's thin face and blue eyes make him look a lot like Oskar's uncle, Jan Bronski.
  • As he wanders around the church, Oskar comes to another statue, this one showing the baby Jesus in Mary's lap.
  • As he studies the statue, Oskar starts to think that the baby Jesus reminds him of himself. Jesus' hands are clenched in a way that compels Oskar to take out his drumsticks and put them in the statue's hands.
  • Oskar makes a deal, saying that if the Baby Jesus can come to life and play just a few notes on his tin drum, he'll be a total believer.
  • The statue doesn't drum, and shortly after, a priest catches Oskar near the statue and hits him. Oskar feels hurt, but doesn't scream because he doesn't want to ruin all of the church's stained-glass windows.
  • Oskar decides that from this moment forward, he won't have anything to do with Catholicism or Jesus.