Study Guide

The Tin Drum Manipulation

By Günter Grass

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Oskar's nothing if not manipulative. In fact, he probably spends the better part of The Tin Drum manipulating us, his readers. We know from the start that he's in an insane asylum. We also find out that he spent many of his younger years learning how to make people do what he wanted, since he didn't have the size to do many of these things himself. Being manipulative is a survival tool for Oskar. Living in a chaotic situation that's out of your control can be scary, particularly for someone as small as Oskar. But if your major interpersonal style is manipulation, how can you ever hope to get close to anyone?

Questions About Manipulation

  1. Does Oskar really feel in control of the people around him?
  2. Do any other characters in the book ever manipulate Oskar? Who and how?
  3. Is there anyone whom Oskar is unable to manipulate?

Chew on This

Since we can't believe a word Oskar says, it's best to read all of The Tin Drum as a total fabrication of Oskar's imagination.

Overall, The Tin Drum portrays Oskar's ability to manipulate people as something he's proud of.

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