Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Tin Drum: A Reluctant Criticism

I wished I liked it. I really do. But I don't. Reading The Tin Drum was an experience not unlike the time I read The Bell Jar. The protagonist of The Bell Jar, Esther Greenwood, is clinically depressed and suicidal. The author of the novel, Sylvia Plath, committed suicide not long after The Bell Jar's first publication. The tone and general writing of Plath's famous novel is so intense and captivating that the depression became practically tangible to me. It's next to impossible while reading it not to feel the dark feelings of Esther Greenwood. However, I was and still am completely enthralled with The Bell Jar.

 I wish I could say the same about The Tin Drum. Like The Bell Jar, The Tin Drum has an intense tone that reeks of mental disturbance (for lack of a better word). The, what I see as, cynical tone of The Tin Drum, made me cynical. The mundane chapters in which Oskar meticulously described things such as his grandmother's skirts were tedious for me to read. To be honest, I had to read it chapter by chapter, because reading more than one chapter are once was just too much for me. I could never quite connect with Oskar. I think that was my main problem while reading. I didn't understand or ever feel sympathy or really anything for Oskar.

My brutally honest feelings being said, I can see why The Tin Drum received the acclaim it did. I hope our class discussions will have me rooting for Oskar, or at least understand him and the story better.

Please don't hate me Gunter Grass or Oskar-enthusiasts.

4 comments:

Miranda Martinez said...

I see what you mean about the correlation between The Bell Jar and The Tin Drum. Both are dreary and downright disturbing. When I read The Bell Jar, I felt myself almost embodying Ester's feelings, yet when I read the Tin Drum I did not feel that I connected with Oskar at all - except for when he was cynical, which was pretty much always.

Kincy Gibson said...

I had trouble connecting with Oskar also. Through the whole novel I kept finding myself rolling my eyes after each one of his absurdly pompous comments. All trust between Oskar and I was destroyed as soon as the first sentence of the book was read: "Granted: I'am an inmate..." I didn't trust a single thing he said and that made me doubt the entire narration of the book. Instead of enjoying the plot or the characters, I was continuously questioning what was real or what was being created out of Oskar's twisted mind.

Kincy GIbson said...

I had trouble connecting with Oskar also. Through the whole novel I kept finding myself rolling my eyes after each one of his absurdly pompous comments. All trust between Oskar and I was destroyed as soon as the first sentence of the book was read: "Granted: I'am an inmate..." I didn't trust a single thing he said and that made me doubt the entire narration of the book. Instead of enjoying the plot or the characters, I was continuously questioning what was real or what was being created out of Oskar's twisted mind.

Megan Hoolahan said...

Although I agree that I also did not connect with Oskar, that's what made the novel so interesting to me. I was always intrigued by Oskar's absurdity. His crazy rants always kept me on my feet. Since I knew from the beginning that Oskar was an untrustworthy narrator, I continued to ask myself how some events might have actually occurred. Since the novel was narrated by an untrustworthy narrator, it allowed more room for interpretation from the reader.