Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Oskar's lack of respect for everything

In the Tin Drum, Oskar's self-centered attitude permeates everything that he does. He goes from "being" Jesus to being Satan then to being a baby and so many more different things. His lack of respect for everything as a result of his literal Napoleon complex made me dislike him quite a bit as a person. He doesn't truly care about anything but himself and his drum, and he makes major events, as we said in class today, seem very minor in comparison to himself and his actions. He is in the middle of a bunch of historically important events, and he doesn't even care. He has a picnic on the top of a pillbox, he makes a rape during the Russian liberation of Danzig seem minor and consensual, and he doesn't even care when his uncle is about to be executed after the take over of the Polish post office. We have all read about some self-centered characters before, but I think that Oskar goes way further than any others. He is the epitome of selfish and conceited.

1 comment:

Madeline Davis said...

Honestly, that's what I really liked about Oskar. I mean, of course I hated the things he did, but I found it really interesting that he took the whole "unreliable narrator" thing to such an extreme. We have a tendency to always believe the narrator, but I loved that you couldn't trust a word Oskar said. The second you would start to trust or pity him, he would turn around and do something completely heartless and despicable. It's as if the reader is under Oskar's manipulative influence as well. Just as the other characters in the story are deceived by his appearance and constant "blameless three-year-old" act, the reader wants to make concessions for him too because (since he initially told us he was in a mental institution) we believe him to be crazy.

Side note: I don't know if anyone has seen this, but throughout the book, Oskar really reminded me of Alex from A Clockwork Orange. I think it was the fact that although you saw the story through his eyes, you really couldn't help but hate his guts and find him irresponsible and cruel, but he still knew how to play the system to his advantage and often get out of trouble.