Study Guide

The Tin Drum Chapter 14

By Günter Grass

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Chapter 14

Herbert Truczinski's Back

  • After his mother's gone, Oskar starts spending less time at home. Instead, he goes to hang out at a neighbor's house—Mrs. Truczinski's.
  • Mrs. Truczinski has a son named Herbert who works as a waiter and spends all the rest of his time lying down at home. Oskar likes to hang around him, though, because he's very undemanding as a friend. It's kind of like having a pet rock.
  • One day Herbert changes his shirt and reveals his back to Oskar. Oskar is amazed to find that Herbert's entire back is lined with scars. And for every scar, Herbert has an interesting story.
  • As a waiter, you see, Herbert has a tendency to break up fights. You know how that is. Restaurants these days…
  • Sometimes he breaks up fights involving people who don't want to be stopped. So he gets stabbed in the back.
  • While breaking up a fight one night, Herbert accidentally kills a man. He's acquitted at his trial, but decides that he's had it with being a waiter.

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