Study Guide

The Tin Drum Chapter 25

By Günter Grass

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Chapter 25

Seventy-Five Kilos

  • Oskar compares his life to the muddy victories won by Germany across Europe during World War II.
  • He also claims that he spent a lot of time hanging out with Frau Greff in her bedroom. The whole description sounds very sexual, as Oskar talks about Frau as if she's a replacement for Maria. His language is so confusing that it's tough to tell.
  • Next, Oskar says that after the death of his mother, he ran into his mentor Bebra again. He also ran into Bebra's entertainment partner, a little woman named Roswitha Raguna whom Oskar finds beautiful, though he has no clue how old she is.
  • It looks like Bebra has made solid connections with the Nazi party and had been rising in their ranks. But after he and Bebra part ways again, Oskar returns to Frau Greff to continue his "education," whatever that means.
  • Meanwhile Oskar notes that Frau Greff's husband grows more and more disconnected from the world during the war years. He doesn't have any of his Boy Scouts to hang out with anymore because these boys would have all gone off to war (and most likely died).
  • So Greff just hangs around his shop tinkering with this and that. He begins to lose his robust figure and ages quickly. The guy seems depressed.
  • Oskar pretty much makes it clear that he's doing sexual things in bed with Greff's wife while Greff is occupied outside.
  • Greff takes up the habit of bringing a washbasin into the bedroom so Oskar can wash up after being in bed with Frau Greff. So the dude totally knows that Oskar is getting into bed with his wife, but doesn't seem to care.
  • Once Oskar comes back out of the bedroom, Greff is much more interested in showing Oskar all the mechanical things he's been building.
  • One day, Greff builds a drum machine that pleases Oskar a lot. It's still not clear what all of this is leading up to, though. All Oskar tells us is that the drum machine was intended for Greff's "finale." That doesn't sound good.
  • One day, Oskar heads to Greff's shop and finds it shuttered and closed. Which is weird, because Greff never closes his shop because he's never sick. Oskar taps on the windows, and Frau Greff eventually shows up and leads him inside.
  • Once they're inside, Frau Greff calls for her husband but doesn't get an answer (gulp).
  • Frau Greff starts screaming when she enters the basement. It looks like Greff has hanged himself using one of his fancy contraptions. Someone had turned him in to the Vice Squad.
  • As Oskar approaches the scene, he drums out the nursery rhyme about death that the local kids sing, which goes: "Better start running, the Black Cook's coming! Ha! Ha! Ha!"
  • It turns out that Greff has also rigged his noose to his drum machine, which sets off a bunch of noises when the police take Greff down.
  • In the present-day asylum, Oskar tries to reproduce this same sound on his drum, but can't.

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