The central role of the billiard table and the game played upon it within Böll’s novel has significant ramifications, among them the initiation of a color system, which is subsequently employed consistently throughout the novel. In the course of the text, the reader’s attention is focused repeatedly upon the billiard table and upon the red and white balls rolling over its green surface. Indeed, the words “weiß über grün, rot über griin, rot-weiß über grün” serve as a refrain which becomes one of the key leitmotifs in the work. They establish as well a trio of colors which prove to be of continuing importance and which, together with additional colors, assume symbolic dimensions in the novel.



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