Study Guide

The Tin Drum Chapter 15

By Günter Grass

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Chapter 15


  • Herbert applies for a new job and eventually finds work as a watchman at a nearby naval museum. If that sounds boring, that's because it is. That's just the way Herbert wants it.
  • The naval museum is home to a figurehead from a ship called Niobe. It's a half-naked woman.
  • The thing is reputed to have mysteriously caused dozens of deaths. But Herbert doesn't seem scared.
  • Intrigued by the story of Niobe, Oskar decides to follow Herbert to work.
  • A week or two go by and nothing happens. It looks like that silly old figurehead isn't cursed at all…
  • That is, until the day a bunch of police cars and ambulances roll up to the museum. Oskar wriggles his way in with the crowd and finds his friend Herbert dead.
  • But he's not just dead. It looks like he's climbed up onto the statue with his pants down, to do something sexual. The whole thing is just plain weird, and even though Herbert was a friend, Oskar nearly laughs at the man's death.

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