In what respects do Pilenz and Mahlke have a ‘cat and mouse’ relationship? How reliable is Pilenz’s account if this relationship? In the novel Cat and Mouse written by Gi?? nter Grass, two characters named Pilenz and Mahlke appear to have a cat and mouse relationship. Pilenz is the narrator who spends much of his time following Mahlke. Therefore Mahlke is the mouse and Pilenz is the cat. However, there are times when Malhke is the cat and Pilenz is the mouse. Pilenz’s account of a cat and mouse relationship is not extremely reliable.
The novel begins with Mahlke, a 14-year-old schoolboy not knowing how to swim. There was a sunken barge from World War Two. Mahlke’s classmates would frequently pay visits to the sunken barge. Because Mahlke had not learned to swim, he could not accompany his friends to the barge as they swam out to it. Mahlke engaged in swimming lessons and soon succeeded his friends’ ability to swim. Until this time, Mahlke had admired his friends because they swam out to the barge and he was never able to follow.
In this early stage of the novel, Pilenz is the mouse and Mahlke is the cat. This changes however, very soon as the novel progresses. Mahlke learned how to swim and finally swam faster than his friends. Mahlke could also hold his breath for a longer time than Pilenz. When he arrived to the barge, he would dive down to see what he could salvage from the wreckage. Pilenz never dove to the barge. Mahlke would surface with items from the barge such as an old gramophone player, and a medallion. Pilenz admired Mahlke for this.
He even makes an account that Mahlke did better than him in school, was somewhat popular among his classmates, and let everyone copy his work. The relationship between a cat and a mouse is not a good relationship. The Cat is out to eat (destroy) the mouse. With Mahlke as the mouse and Pilenz as the cat, the effect is just the opposite. When Pilenz’s cousins come to visit him from Berlin for the summer, Mahlke embarrasses Pilenz in front of them. Mahlke acts superior to him. As a result, his cousins refer to Mahlke as Mister Mahlke. This is an example of the Mouse destroying the cat.
Throughout the novel, the reader is told that Mahlke had sex with the wife of the commander of the Labor Service battalion. Later on in the story, Mahlke and Pilenz are walking one night when they see Tulla Pokriefke. Mahlke decides go out with her for the evening. Although we are not told, Mahlke probably slept with her and engaged in sexual activity. Pilenz describes his accounts of his chances with the opposite sex. He states that he has been unsuccessful. In this situation, as is the one above, Mahlke is the mouse whom Pilenz the cat follows.
This situation also marks the turning point of the cat and mouse relationship. Mahlke was supposed to go back to the army the night he went out with Tulla. He was on a few days leave before he met Tulla. Because he did not want to get punished for returning back to the army late, he decides not to go to the army. Henceforth, Pilenz becomes the mouse and Mahlke becomes the cat. Mahlke wants to hide out with Pilenz so he is not discovered by the military or police. Pilenz violently opposes this idea and tells him to go back to the barge. Pilenz cares for Mahlke.
Mahlke was hungary while they were going to the barge. He eats some unripe gooseberries by the handfuls. When Pilenz decides to go, Mahlke puts three handfuls of unripe gooseberries into his pockets. He eats them on the way to the barge. On page 187, there is a specific reference to fraternity. Pilenz thinks of Mahlke as a brother. The reference is Mahlke , with his cans of pork but no can opener, with or without the black candy whose sweetness had bitterness for a twin… . Mahlke gets a stomachache from eating unripe gooseberries and is unable to swim out to the barge.
Instead of leaving Mahlke writhing on the sand, Pilenz goes so far as to pay for boat rental to transport Mahlke to the barge. Because Mahlke is asking for advice and needs Pilenz’s help to hide, Pilenz is the mouse and Mahlke is the cat. These relationships of cat and mouse between Mahlke and Pilenz are not very reliable. Pilenz is writing this in 1959. This is not a reliable account because the story was set in the early years of World War II. Approximately 20 years after the story takes place, Pilenz (Grass) decides to write it down.
No body has a perfect memory, and information is lost as time passes. Pilenz probably forgot a lot of important details that were vital to understanding these cat and mouse relationships. Therefore Pilenz’s account is not a reliable one about the cat and mouse relationships. In conclusion, the novel Cat and Mouse written by Gi?? nter Grass contains two characters; Mahke and Pilenz that bhave several cat and mouse relationships. In the beginning of the novel, Pilenz is the mouse and Mahlke is the cat. Later, and for the majority of the novel, Mahlke is the mouse and Pilenz is the cat that follows.
Their relationship is sometimes that opposite to one of a true cat and mouse. Towards the end of the novel, Pilenz once again becomes the mouse and Mahlke becomes the cat. I do no think that these accounts of cat and mouse relationships are reliable because Pilenz is writing about them about 20 years in the future and probably forgot some information vital to the relationships.