The Tin Drum | Study Guide

Günther Grass

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Günther Grass

Year Published





Drama, Satire, War Literature

Perspective and Narrator

Oskar Matzerath, the main character of The Tin Drum, tells his life story in peculiar shifts between first and third person, often within a single paragraph. Thus, he is at once both actor and observer. Occasionally, the narrator is the author of the novel.


In this retrospective narration, the verb tense of The Tin Drum alternates between present and past.

About the Title

The tin drum of the title, a gift from his mother, belongs to Oskar, who does not speak but drums to communicate. The drum and Oskar's provocative drumming accumulate meaning as the novel's themes develop.


This study guide and infographic for Günther Grass's The Tin Drum offer summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.

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