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08 July 2013

The Tin Drum: Beach Scene

In perhaps the most famous scene in the novel, the Matzeraths and Bronski take a walk along the seashore, where they see a hideous old man, fishing with a long rope. They pause for a moment, as he hauls up the line to reveal that it is attached to a horse's severed head. He dumps the pulpy, disgusting mass on the dock and begins to pull out long black eels, which he tosses into a canvas bag of salt. Oskar writes that his mother at first wishes to look away, then finds that she cannot turn away, and finally that she vomits up her breakfast, which is soon devoured by swooping seagulls. To cap things off, the hearty Herr Matzerath buys several of the eels to take home for supper. The repercussions from this incident change everyone's life.