Study Guide

The Tin Drum Chapter 18

By Günter Grass

Chapter 18

The Polish Post Office

  • Oskar's awakened by the sound of gunshots. The Germans are tired of waiting, and the Polish Post Office is now under siege. Poor Jan and the boys are totally outgunned, but they wage a spirited defense anyway.
  • Oskar goes into a room where he sees Jan cowering on the floor with his hands over his head. Beside him is the janitor Kobyella, who's supposed to fix Oskar's drum.
  • While all the shooting is going down, though, Oskar glances across the room and finds a brand new tin drum sitting across from him. Oh yeah, and there are bullets flying everywhere, but he doesn't seem to care.
  • He realizes he's too small to reach the drum. He'll need someone to get it for him. But neither Jan nor Kobyella will budge. Um, yeah, they're being attacked.
  • Partway through the firefight, Jan actually lifts his leg out the window, hoping that he'll get shot. If he's wounded, he thinks that he'll be able to stop fighting and still be treated like a hero.
  • Eventually, the Germans bring in tanks and giant guns. There's no way the Poles are going to win this one.
  • But at least Oskar's able to get a hold of a new tin drum. Priorities are priorities after all.