Study Guide

The Tin Drum Chapter 36

By Günter Grass

Chapter 36

Fortuna North

  • As the stonecutting business continues to treat Oskar well, he decides that it's high time to buy a nice suit for himself.
  • He also decides that it'd be nice to have a hot date to go with the suit.
  • He goes to the hospital where he spent most of the past few months and asks out a nurse named Sister Gertrud. Gertrud is hesitant at first, but eventually says yes.
  • Later that night, Oskar meets Gertrud near a tram stop. He's disappointed at how much less glamorous Gertrud looks when she's not in uniform, but nonetheless, the two of them head to a nearby club.
  • Oskar buys Gertrud a drink or two and asks her to dance. Gertrud's pretty embarrassed to be seen with a tiny, humpbacked man like Oskar, but she's too nice to say no right away.
  • As Oskar and Gertrud start dancing, the crowd eventually makes room for them.
  • Everyone's impressed by how well Oskar can dance, and it isn't long before they're all rooting for him.
  • Once they sit back down, Gertrud says she's going to head to the bathroom. She never comes back, leaving Oskar alone. He claims that he doesn't mind, but you have to figure his feelings are pretty hurt.
  • A few days later, he's working at the graveyard installing a new stone monument when he sees a crew digging up a body. Oskar notices a severed finger with a ring on it lying in the dirt. One of the digger's shovels or machines must have accidentally cut the finger from the body, though there's no sign of the woman it belongs to.
  • Oskar finds that he can't stop thinking about that finger, especially the ring that's on it. He eventually decides that seeing the severed ring finger is a sign that he should get married. Uh, yeah, sure.
  • Oskar takes Maria out for dinner that night and asks her to marry him. She says she needs some time to think it over. A few days later, she turns him down.
  • The name of this chapter really should have been, "Oskar gets Burned Twice."