The Comic Format of Spiegelman's Books Maus I and Maus II Essay

The Comic Format of Spiegelman's Books Maus I and Maus II Essay

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The books Maus I and Maus II, written by Art Spiegelman over a thirteen-year period from 1978-1991, are books that on the surface are written about the Holocaust. The books specifically relate to the author’s father’s experiences pre and post-war as well as his experiences in Auschwitz. The book also explores the author’s very complex relationship between himself and his father, and how the Holocaust further complicates this relationship. On a deeper level the book also dances around the idea of victims, perpetrators, and bystanders. The two books are presented in a very interesting way; they are shown in comic form, which provides the ability for Spiegelman to incorporate numerous ideas and complexities to his work.
The comic book form is very useful in telling a story as complex as Maus. Usually, comics are associated with fun and lightheartedness, but Maus is almost the complete opposite. It is a serious story of one’s recollection of the holocaust. Not exactly light reading.
Maus definitely works in comic form for a number of reasons. Firstly, Art Spiegelman is able to create almost particular images, which means when something’s happening to a character we feel more because we see it happening to them. Secondly, comic form lets the author be more precise in his details. He is able to add small little hints in the illustrations, making the comic readable on many different levels. For example, one person can just see a sad story, while another can see a completely different story full of depth and hidden meaning. The comic is also able to show ideas that could not be as thoroughly presented in written form.
The section in Maus II where Artie is sitting at his desk debating the point of writing the book could ...


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...nd Vladek’s suffering, he still somewhat tries. He writes a book attempting to recognize what his father has been through. Although a piece of literature may never truly be able to grasp the ideas and mentality of the holocaust, Maus comes very close.
Throughout Maus we learn very important lessons, if this is what Spiegelman intended to achieve is debatable; nevertheless, we still learn. First, we learn that art is a very powerful way to communicate any type of subject; it allows multiple layers of depth. We also learn that although we can try to understand victim’s hardships, one may never truly be able to comprehend what a victim has gone through. This idea doesn’t necessarily mean we should not attempt to relate to victims, which is very important. Lastly, Maus teaches us to examine our daily lives in order to find our own personal role in society.

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