Analysis Of Maus And The Holocaust

Grant Gronemeier
Mrs. Watts
AP English III
1 May 2014
Maus and The Holocaust: A Story Within a Story
Author and illustrator, Art Spiegelman, in his graphic novel, Maus, effectively portrays the events of the Holocaust while also telling the intriguing survival story of his father, Vladek. Spiegelman’s purpose is to honor his father’s memory by accurately telling his story and to also inform readers of the main events that took place during the tragic time period. By using Vladek’s story to complement the timeline of the Holocaust, Spiegelman successfully tells two stories simultaneously.
By writing Maus as a graphic novel in black and white, Spiegelman attempts to discuss the Holocaust while also trying to get across the point that it cannot be accurately portrayed. If he were to write a nine-hundred-page book trying to re-tell every event inside the Holocaust, he would not have been as successful. Everything is a representation besides the original event, and those representations will never be able to fully grasp the attributes or emotions associated with the real thing. Epic events such as the Holocaust are simply impossible to thoroughly represent or re-tell through writing or drawing, and Spiegelman realizes that. So in order to write on this topic without miserably failing, he chooses to incorporate another story along with the original. This helps Spiegelman to achieve his original plan of portraying the Holocaust, but also gives the book more of a real side. Vladek’s story makes the reader feel as if he or she is reading a biography following the life of a survivor in the Holocaust rather than reading a history book.
By making the characters different types of animals instead of humans, he is altering the novel’s founda...

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... he does not believe a narrative can fully encompass all that it sets out to represent.
If Spiegelman could make one thing to clear to his readers, it is that he certainly did not set out to fully capture every aspect of the Holocaust within Maus. His main struggle in writing the novel is his own knowledge of the fact that what he wants to do cannot be done. So as an alternative, he parallels the Holocaust with the story of his father. This allows him to still discuss the Holocaust, but without making it seem as if he is attempting to re-tell the whole time period. His father’s survival story shadows the timeline of the Holocaust, which calls for a very interesting and informative read. Overall, Spiegelman successfully portrays the events of the Holocaust by utilizing his father’s story as a supplement, despite his own self-doubts towards the creation of the novel.

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