20 October 2009

Better Late Than Never--A Tragedy of Maus

Lately, we’ve been assigned to read “Maus,” an autobiographical comic book about the history of the Holocaust through the eyes’ of the author’s (Art Spiegelman) father, Vladek. In chapter five, through a third person’s point of view, we watch (and I say watch because I felt as though I was watching Spiegelman’s story unravel) Spiegelman meets up with his father to learn another portion of his father’s effort of survival as a Polish Jew. Vladek explains to his son how he and his wife, Anja, went through obstacles to get away from the ghettos while leaving behind and losing family. Tragically, Vladek and Anja suffer through mind afflicting events that happen. Yet, regardless of their misery, they survived the holocaust only with detrimental effects that follow them for the rest of their lives.

“Maus” is comparable to “Our Cancer Year” since the art is in black and white. But that’s it. The particular art in “Maus” is well done and clear. Each character is easily identifiable considering “Our Cancer Year’s” art has dark ink and a lot of lines where I couldn’t tell the character’s apart. Also, I noticed that the art in “Maus” didn’t have any emotion; there weren’t any tears rolling down the mice’s face and I wouldn’t have been able to read any emotion if it weren’t for their hands covering their faces when they were sad. It isn’t a bad thing because I suppose that helped the clarity of the pictures. Which reminds me, I remember in class Professor Villarreal mentioned animal metamorphoses…at least I think that’s what the word was, “metamorphoses.” Well, while I’m on that subject I’ve been thinking why on earth would Jews be represented as mice and the Natzi be represented by cats? As I began to think more deeply, I came up with the idea that perhaps the Jews were considered to be mice because they were seen as a plague to the Nazi. Cats chase mice because they want to eat them. A cat chase mouse sort of game; thus, maybe Spiegelman was trying to add emphasis on the superiority that the Nazis wanted to have over the Jews. I could be way off here, but there’s an idea that I’ve wanted to get off my chest.

Anywho! “Maus” stood out from the past comics we’ve read not only because I got emotionally attached but also because the story had a nice flow and there was a lot of depth. The autobiography told a story that wasn’t boring or hard to follow; unlike past comics we’ve read, I understood everything that was happening and I didn’t find myself getting bored. I’m disappointed it was only chapter five that we were assigned to read. I know “Maus” won the Pulitzer Prize for a reason, but in order to see that reason, reading more will only help accomplish that.


  1. This was a very good post!

    I agree with you that this comic was much easier to follow and get into because of the emotion in it.

    My favorite comic so far!

  2. Great post, Lynnae. I'm curious, though. Did you like the anthropomorphic (human-like animal) characters?

  3. Haha! That's the word I was looking for!
    And yes, I did like the human-like-characters. They were drawn well!