Study Guide

The Tin Drum Chapter 8

By Günter Grass

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Chapter 8

Long-Distance Song Effects From the Stockturm

  • Back at the asylum, Oskar describes one of the doctors who comes by to treat him regularly, but says he treats her more than the other way around. Sure.
  • After that, he launches into a story about being forced to drink other kids' urine when he was young. The taste stays with him forever. (Us, too.)
  • Oskar relates how his mother and his uncle Jan would meet together every Thursday. Oskar's mother would take Oskar to a toy shop belonging to a man named Sigismund Markus.
  • There, she'd buy him his new drum for the week and leave him under Mr. Markus' watchful eye as she went off to have sex with her cousin Jan.
  • By this point, we also know that Oskar thinks Jan might be his biological father. From here onward, Oskar usually refers to Alfred Matzerath only as his "presumptive" father.
  • One day, Oskar takes the opportunity to walk out of the shop and go wandering around the city. He climbs the stairs of a tower and looks around the city of Danzig.
  • For the first time, Oskar lets out a scream simply for the fun of it, and he shatters all of the windows at a building called the Stadt-Theater.
  • It's the first time he's shattered glass from a long distance (hence the title of the chapter).
  • The crowd in the street flies into a panic, and Oskar seems pretty proud of himself. He remembers hearing how the following day's newspaper tried to explain the event by talking about invisible cosmic rays from space.
  • Oskar spots his mother from the tower and rushes down the stairs to get back to Markus' shop.
  • When he gets back into the shop, Oskar finds Sigismund holding his mother's hand and begging on his knees for her to be his mistress.
  • Agnes is embarrassed for the both of them, and she refuses. Sigismund is willing to accept this answer. But then he begs her to stop having an affair with Jan Bronski.
  • Sigismund isn't blind. He knows about the affair, and he knows that messing around with a Polish citizen will get Agnes into trouble some day.
  • You can see that anti-Polish sentiment is getting pretty strong among the Germans in Danzig.

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