Saturday, August 24, 2013

Destruction and Creation in The Tin Drum

One of the major motifs I noticed reading The Tin Drum was that of the creative aspect of Oskar, chiefly represented by his drumming, and the destructive aspect of his screaming.  He makes the comparison several times in the book: the Devil keeps telling him to shatter the windows in the church and he talks extensively about Goethe, a refined, scholarly figure, and Rasputin, a figure of excess and lust.  I suppose for Grass the years the novel describes, between 1920 and around 1952, might have seemed like a balance between the destructive and creative powers of Germany, with the creative ability demonstrated by the flourishing of science and culture in the Weimar republic (during some of, for example, Richard Strauss' and Heisenberg's most productive years), the German recovery after the Great Depression and, later, the Wirtschaftswunder, and the destructive power demonstrated, of course, by World War II.

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