Art Spiegelman's Maus II is a book that tells more than the story of one family's struggle to live thought the Holocaust. It gives us a look into the psyche of a survivor's child and how the Holocaust affected him and many other generations of people who were never there at all. Maus II gives the reader a peek into the psyche of Art Spiegelman and the affects of having two parents that survived the Holocaust had on him. Spiegelman demonstrates the affects of being a survivor's child in many ways throughout the book. Examining some of these will give us a better understanding of what it was like to be a part of the Holocaust.
The graphic novels Maus and Maus II by Art Spiegelman possess the power to make the reader understand the pain and suffering that takes place during the Holocaust. Spiegelman uses animals instead of humans in his graphic novels to represent the different races of people. The use of visual mediums in Art Spiegelman’s Maus enhances the reading of the narrative. The graphics throughout the novel help the reader fully understand everything that is happening.
In Maus, Art Spiegelman does not make any apologies about what he includes or leaves out from his story. Maus is not meant to be a story that encompasses World War II or the Holocaust, but rather, a story about the life of his father, Vladek Spiegelman:
In Art Spiegelman’s Maus, the audience is led through a very emotional story of a Holocaust survivor’s life and the present day consequences that the event has placed on his relationship with the author, who is his son, and his wife. Throughout this novel, the audience constantly is reminded of how horrific the Holocaust was to the Jewish people. Nevertheless, the novel finds very effective ways to insert forms of humor in the inner story and outer story of Maus. Although the Holocaust has a heart wrenching effect on the novel as a whole, the effective use of humor allows for the story to become slightly less severe and a more tolerable read.
Spiegelman, Art. Maus I: a Survivor’s Tale: My Father Bleeds History. New York: Pantheon Books,
Both Maus, written by Art Spiegelman, and Life is beautiful, directed by Roberto Benigni have two very different portrayals of the holocaust and their main characters both have different strengths that allow them and their families to keep afloat during the Holocaust. Vladek and Guido use their individual strengths to survive the prison camps and help their loved ones to survive as well. Both Vladek and Guido have families they need to keep track of while living in the harsh environment of the concentration camps. Guido’s ability to be comical and a quick thinker allows him and his son to stay alive. The resourcefulness of Vladek and his quick learning skill allow him and his wife to stay alive.
There are multiple sources with divergent advantages and strategies, which allow humanity to have a clearer understanding of the holocaust; when compared, the resources’ limitations become apparent. The graphic novel Maus appears less valid compared to the diary, Night with its heinous detailed experience of life in a concentration camp. Conversely, Maus exhibits a strong expression of themes throughout the novel; comparably, this is a restriction in the textbook, Europe in the Contemporary world. Primary sources also aid in having an in-depth understanding of the holocaust, Smith’s text, contains, documented diaries and poems which each respectably uses techniques for the reader to grasp the execrable treatment of Jews. In conjunction, films present a different perspective of the holocaust; comparatively, the documentary Night and Fog seemingly has more credibility than the modern movie Defiance, although both films have their advantages. Furthermore, a combination of films and written works will yield a greater understanding of the holocaust. When examining such works as, Maus, and Night, each source uses different methods for the reader to comprehend the Nazi’s monstrous actions.
When most people refer to literature that concentrates specifically on the Holocaust as the subjects, the first thought usually isn’t in the form of a graphic novel. Most people would believe a graphic novel is something only a child would read or someone to the same educational equivalent. Due to their engaging stories and appealing visuals though, graphic novels are idea for visual learners, inexperienced or unenthused readers, and just about anyone else who may not find traditional print books enticing. Graphic novels tend to show a relationship between the images and the text that makes for an experience in itself (1.). Sometimes even taking on a difficult subject, an example being the Holocaust can make for a different kind of experience. In Maus I & II, the author chose graphic novels as his medium. For that, “Maus shines due to its impressive ability to ‘speak the unspeakable’ by using the popular maxim, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words,’ to perfection” (3).
The Maus series of books tell a very powerful story about one man’s experience in the Holocaust. They do not tell the story in the conventional novel fashion. Instead, the books take on an approach that uses comic windows as a method of conveying the story. One of the most controversial aspects of this method was the use of animals to portray different races of people. The use of animals as human races shows the reader the ideas of the Holocaust a lot more forcefully than simply using humans as the characters.
In the beginning of Maus the reader is thrown into a scenario of the Author, Art's, many visits to his
Art Spiegelman’s graphic novel Maus unfolds the story about his father Vladek Spiegleman, and his life during the WWII. Since Vladek and Art are both the narrators of the story, the story not only focuses on Vladek's survival, but also the writing process and the organization of the book itself. Through these two narrators, the book explores various themes such as identity, perspective, survival and guilt. More specifically, Maus suggests that surviving an atrocity results in survivor’s guilt, which wrecks one’s everyday life and their relationships with those around them. It accomplishes this through symbolism and through characterization of Vladek and Anja.
In the years after the Holocaust the survivors from the concentration camps tried to cope with the horrors of the camps and what they went through and their children tried to understand not only what happened to their parents. In the story of Maus, these horrors are written down by the son of a Holocaust survivor, Vladek. Maus is not only a story of the horrors of the concentration camps, but of a son, Artie, working through his issues with his father, Vladek. These issues are shown from beginning to end and in many instances show the complexity of the father-son relationship that was affected from the Holocaust. Maus not only shows these matters of contentions, but that the Holocaust survivors constantly put their children’s experiences to unreasonable standards of the parent’s Holocaust experiences.
The Holocaust is one of the most horrific and gruesome events in world history. It took a great toll on millions of lives in one way or another. One person in particular is Vladek Spiegelman, a Holocaust survivor. Maus, by Art Spiegelman, consists of two main narratives. One narrative occurs during World War II in Poland, and the other begins in the late 1970s in New York. In relation to each other these two narratives portray the past and present.Throughout the novel, we often see Art Spiegelman questioning why his father acts the way he does. Although the war is over, the events of the Holocaust continue to influence the life of Vladek. Why do we allow the past to effect the present? Vladek's personality is largely influenced by his Holocaust experience. In Maus I and II, Vladek was stubborn, selfish, and cheap because of his experiences in the Holocaust.
By means of comic illustration and parody, Art Spiegelman wrote a graphic novel about the lives of his parents, Vladek and Anja, before and during the Holocaust. Spiegelman’s Maus Volumes I and II delves into the emotional struggle he faced as a result of his father’s failure to recover from the trauma he suffered during the Holocaust. In the novel, Vladek’s inability to cope with the horrors he faced while imprisoned, along with his wife’s tragic death, causes him to become emotionally detached from his son, Art. Consequently, Vladek hinders Art’s emotional growth. However, Art overcomes the emotional trauma his father instilled in him through his writing.