Study Guide

The Tin Drum Chapter 39

By Günter Grass

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Chapter 39

In the Wardrobe

  • Oskar reassures us that Sister Dorothea isn't the only thing he ever thinks about. He is very good at his job and is constantly focusing on how to get better at it.
  • That said, Oskar mentions that he eventually gets into the habit of trying to open Sister Dorothea's door, just in case she forgets to lock it some day.
  • One day, he does find the door open, and slips into the room to check things out. While he's in there, he looks at all the stuff Dorothea owns and tries to get an idea about her life from what he sees. He picks up one of Dorothea's bras and inspects it.
  • Oskar decides to step up and enclose himself inside Sister Dorothea's wardrobe. While he's in there, he gets an erection and masturbates while smelling Dorothea's clothing, especially her starched nurse's uniform.
  • He sees the shadow of one of her leather belts, and is suddenly reminded of the eels he saw wriggling out of a horse's head when he was a boy.
  • When he's "finished," Oskar gets out of the wardrobe and leaves Dorothea's apartment without a trace of his being there.

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