Maus : A Survivor 's Tale By Art Spiegelman Essay

Maus : A Survivor 's Tale By Art Spiegelman Essay

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Maus: A Survivor’s Tale by Art Spiegelman is a graphic novel consisting of two narratives, one telling the story of Nazi persecution of Jews during the Holocaust and the other telling how Spiegelman’s father, Vladek lived in New York in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Specifically, it is an account told by Spiegelman’s father, Vladek, who was a Jewish Holocaust survivor from Poland, as a narrator about his experience during the war to Art, who is ‘interviewing’ him. Maus belongs to what is known as second-generation Holocaust literature, which tells stories of how the children and descendants of survivors were impacted by the tragedy.
In the years from 1933-1945, the Nazi Party ruled Germany. Extreme racist and in particular anti-Semitism were central features in the regime that thought that purebred Germans were a ‘perfect race’. They perverted theories such as natural selection to justify ethnic cleansings like the Holocaust, which targeted mainly the Jewish population of Germany and surrounding countries, but also included Slavs, gypsies, and homosexuals.
Jews were particularly disliked by the Germans and were severely persecuted during the Holocaust. At first, they were forced to live in ghettos throughout cities where the living conditions were horrid. They were also forced to wear yellow Star of David’s on their chests that read ‘Juden’ which was ‘Jew’ in German. Their businesses were defaced and sometimes confiscated. On November 9-10, 1938, SA Paramilitary forces and other non-Jewish civilians carried out a mass pogrom across Nazi Germany and Austria in which Jewish businesses, houses, and synagogues were looted, burned, and vandalized. After this, Germans began the process of arresting and incarcerating Jews in conc...


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... stingy. When living in a camp like that, you learn to hoard what little you have to survive. In this way, Art is affected by the Holocaust indirectly because his father’s personality was clearly influenced by the events of it.
Although the historical and cultural context of Spiegelman’s writing is obviously geared toward the Jewish struggle during the Holocaust, he finds ways to express these influences in different ways, such as writing Maus as a graphic novel, or using animals to represent ethnic groups. Spiegelman pours his heart and soul into this book to try and tell his fathers story of suffering as well, as his own. The difficulties of being a second-generation Holocaust survivor are shown as him and his father sometimes struggle to mesh and understand each other. Spiegelman succeeds in writing a stark semi-personal account of the tragedy of the Holocaust.

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