The Loss of Power and the Loss of Purpose Essay

The Loss of Power and the Loss of Purpose Essay

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When people go through difficult situations, no matter how powerful they once were, it often leaves them feeling weak. This weakness has the potential to lead to the questioning of ones’ existence. Finding meaning in one’s existence, although temporarily helpful, unfortunately does not fill the void that occurs when the persons’ power is taken away from them. In both “Maus” and “I See You”, the idea of losing and regaining power through signification is shown through the characters of Vladek and Smith. Despite both of these characters going through experiences that weakened their initial power, both were able to regain some power through finding meaning and significance in their lives. Despite this, it is unfortunately not enough seeing as in the end, both characters still lived with the burden of their initial deterioration.

In both “Maus” and “I See you”, I believe that the characters of Vladek and Smith are initially portrayed as very powerful, strong people. Although they both experience very different situations for this to happen, their power deteriorates over time. In “Maus”, Vladek’s strong personality is portrayed through the stories he tells his son, Art. These stories consist of his experiences in the Holocaust, suffering under the reign of Nazi Germany. Throughout the oppression of the Jews, Vladek needed to maintain some sense of control within the camps in order to survive and one can see many instances where he was stronger than most people. As Vladek relives a moment with Anja in the camp, he says “To die, it’s easy..but you have to struggle for life..Until the last moment we must struggle together..and you’ll see that together we’ll survive” (Spiegelman, Vol I, 122). Despite this strength, for Vladek and all J...


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...s of images in a screen” (Knight, 67). Although Smith tries to restore the true meaning of the device and regain his power, he is unable to do so as the device continues to be used for the wrong reasons.

As portrayed in both “Maus” and “I See You”, once power is taken away from a person, it can become hard to regain. Being left powerless, like Vladek and Smith were, can be extremely hard to handle. Although some sort of signification can give people some power back, it is unlikely that one will ever go back to their original state of being. Vladek, whose power was stripped from him in the Holocaust, and Smith, whose control over his product was taken away by society, are both unable to restore their once very powerful, strong personalities. Instead, both were left with the burden of their original deterioration of power, leaving them feeling helpless and fragile.

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