Study Guide

The Tin Drum The Home

By Günter Grass

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The Home

Throughout The Tin Drum, you might notice that poor little Oskar struggles to find a sense of home. It isn't easy for the guy, considering how he's not even sure who his real father is. On top of that, his family home isn't exactly a place full of peace and quiet. It's only after his mother and father are both dead that Oskar seems to truly realize how homeless he's always been, especially in the spiritual sense. He never quite feels like he belongs anywhere. In fact, the closest thing he ever seems to find to a proper "home" is the mental institution from which he narrates the entire novel. By the end of the book, the prospect of having to leave this institution is scary to him.

Questions About The Home

  1. Why do you think Oskar prefers life in the mental hospital? What does it offer him that the outside world doesn't?
  2. Can you find an example of some place in this book that makes Oskar feel more "at home" than the mental institution? What are some other options he finds throughout the book?
  3. What is it about Oskar that makes it so difficult for him to feel comfortable in a home? Is there something about his personality that makes him spiritually and intellectually "homeless"?

Chew on This

In The Tin Drum, Oskar fails to find a home for himself because his self-absorbed personality causes him to alienate himself from others.

Ironically, it was Alfred Matzerath who always made Oskar feel like he had a home. Alfred's death is what ultimately forces Oskar to go out and make a new life for himself.

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