Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Oskar's Child-like Mindset

Oskar has a bad habit denying responsibility to virtually anything. He acts like a child, even in his teen and young adult years as he does not take responsibility for many things. For example, he was the leader of the Dusters, and when they defiled the church and were eventually caught, Oskar became a child and started acting like a baby in order to free himself of the responsibility of defiling the church. Oskar also acts like a child when he thinks that everything revolves around him. For example, when Jan Bronski and Oskar are at the Polish Post Office, Oskar is more worried about his drum getting a drop of blood on it than the man laying in the letter cart bleeding to death. Another instance is seen in Tyler's post where Oskar does not seem to care that his father, Jan Bronski, is about to be executed by the Nazis. Oskar places himself and his minuscule worries, such as his drum, before large matters of great significance, such as the defense of the Polish Post Office by the brave men who died for a cause they believed in. Oskar's denial of responsibility and his obsession with worrying about his own good and his drum's own good are characteristics of a child, and Oskar truly is a child.

3 comments:

Michell D said...

I think it is odd how Oskar puts himself in situations void of all responsibility, such as being UNDER the grandstand or helping people to steal by singing holes in glass. But he still takes responsibility for everything around him like he is the center of the universe. Having no responsibility and being the cause of everything seem like conflicting views, but really they are both evidence that Oskar is a child at heart. He likes to be in control of things until the going gets rough, then he devolves to a three year old and pretends to be a victim of the situation. Oskar's confidence is also a major factor in how he views the world. He seems to think that things were put in place for his sake and he can therefore control them and do whatever he wants to them, and if something happens that he doesn't want, he has the ability to get rid of it and avoid having to deal with it ever again. Oskar prefers to run from his problems then deal with them.

Lindsay A said...

It's funny how Oskar says he was born with a fully developed adult psyche, but he acts like a child and refuses to take responsibilities for his actions. So that raises the question of what is an adult? What is a child? Oskar seems to be the biggest child in the book. He has little sense of right and wrong, he is self-absorbed, and he lacks responsibility. In some ways, Oskar is even more like a child since he considers himself to have an adult psyche. I think it parallels to a five year old boy declaring that he's a "big boy".

Ben Bonner said...

I think the theme of responsibility and how Oskar avoids/accepts it is one of the key themes in viewing this novel as a Buldungsroman. At the beginning of the novel, Oskar habitually avoids guilt and refuses to accept the consequences of his actions. Some examples of this would be his avoidance of responsibility for the death of his parents, the lack of consequences for shattering the shop fronts with his voice and enticing people to steal, and reverting to a child when he and the Dusters are caught. However, he later comes to accept responsibility for the deaths of his parents. He then also takes on the guilt for the death of Sister Dorathea, which, as far as we know, he had no connection to. I think this in particular is the key point in the novel if you choose to view it as a buldungsroman. I think that accepting the guilt for Dorathea's death is meant by Oskar to be an act of attonement for the other deaths he indirectly caused and the crimes he committed, and I think it marks him coming into his maturity.