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.

19 October 2009

The Cautious Maus

Maus is a comic different from most that we have read this semester. Its facts with down about a man's journey through the Holocaust as seen through the eyes of his son. His son is a up and coming comic artist. Art is the young man's name. His father apparently is a loner since the death of his wife because he calls his son in the beginning at 7:00 am for help. When Art comes over, his father declines his assistance. His father becomes upset about a comic detailing the death of his wife.

The comic goes into the past to 1943. It begins to tell the story of the transporting of the Jew to the concentration camps. The Nazis began to take Jews to a ghetto in Srouda. Anja becomes informed of this by her brother-in-law and is asked to be moved. Art's father, Vladek, moves his family inside a empty home. However, Vladek and his family is caught due to the probability that another Jew snitched on him. But, Vladek is smart by befriending some of the Nazi soldiers. Finally, Vladek is released by the soldier for a randsom paid by his cousin Haskel. However, Haskel is sneaky and corrupt and gets Anja's family killed.

Vladek and Art arrive at a bank. Vladek claims Art as his heir to his valuables after he dies. The story ends with his father crying of his dead wife. Maus was a very orginial tale. It is an exact account of the war for the Jews. I thought it was great and refreshing orginial. The idea of Jews being mice was very different. This is also a very somber story when refering to Art and his father Vladek. I could definitely read more of this story.

Survivors Tale

This comic is an autobiography on one of the people that was a survivor of the holocaust. The comic first starts out by Artie roller skating as a young kid. His roller skate broke and his friends rolled off without him. He came in crying to his dad and his dad asked him to hold the wood he was sawing and made a comment on friends. The start of Chapter 5 shows Artie sleeping and getting a phone call from Mala saying that his dad needed him to come over to help fix the drainpipe. Artie expresses his frustration with his dad to his wife and how his father drove him crazy when he asked him to fix things. About a week later, Artie comes over to see his dad and Mala tells him that his dad might have read his comic about his mom committing suicide. The comic is called Prisoner on the Hell Planet. It is about Artie blaming himself for his mothers death and how he had to comfort his father instead of him comforting Artie. Next Artie and his dad walk to the bank and Artie’s dad starts to tell Artie about his experiences in 1943. Vladek starts with telling Artie about being moved to the ghetto and having to live in a small cottage. Other people in the ghetto had to sleep outside. Vladek had to make a decision on whether he would send his young son away with someone else so he would be safer or keep his son there with him. Vladek decided to send his son with Persis so his son might have a better chance of living, but he found out later that his son died.
I can’t imagine this happening to anyone. I really liked this comic because it was about something that really happened. I’m not very good in history classes, but I think I would enjoy learning history through a comic rather then reading regular history books. I thought this was the best comic we read so far because it addressed real issues that made the reader want to continue reading

The Mice in the Holocaust

The comic was actually quite interesting and made me remember what I had been taught in history class about the holocaust. It was awful, the things that people did to hide and survive. At the beginning of the comic, Vladek calls his son Artie and asks him to come and help him fix something on his roof. Artie tells his father that he will be over the following weekend to help fix the roof. Artie finally shows up to help and finds out that his father had done the job already. When Artie goes inside to talk to his father’s new wife, Mala he finds out that Mala had found a story that Artie had written about his mother when she died. After Artie is finished looking at the story, his father walks in and tells Artie that the story made him sad and that he really missed his sweet wife, Anja.

Later, Vladek and Artie begin walking to the bank when Artie asked his father “what happened to you and Anja after the big selection at the stadium?” His father’s response was: “Well, for a time it was everything quiet. Then in 1943 came an order: All Jews what are left in Sosnowiec must go to live in an old village nearby called srodula.” Srodula was a holding camp for the Jews that were going to eventually go to Auschwitz. Artie and his father began talking about what happened and how his father had to make hide-a-ways for his family so that the guards wouldn’t find them and haul them away. Vladek talked of how they had no food and how the Germans would take the small children and those who were crying they would throw them against the wall to make them stop crying. The conditions were horrible.

Even though Vladek and his wife Anja paid off the guard to get their nephew, parents and each other out, only Vladek, his wife and his nephew were saved. Anja’s parents were taken and immediately put into the gas chambers. As time went on, Vladek and Anja were saved because they were taken to a bunker by Vladek’s cousin and decided that they would rather starve then go out and give themselves to the guards or get shot. They waited for a long time and decided that it was safe to leave. Those who had waited with them went their separate ways and survived the holocaust. Anja killed herself years later and Vladek remarried. Vladek gave all of his savings to Artie because he was worried that he was going to die of a heart attack. The story ends with Artie and his father leaving the bank and going home.

This story really touched me. I really like that the Jews were represented as mice. It made the story seem a little lighter, then so serious but it was still very depressing. The art work was well done, but the thing that stood out to me the most was how the words were put together. It made Vladek seem quite illiterate, but also proved the point that he had grown up living in the ghetto and had no time to properly learn how to speak and read. It made the situation seem more real and trying.


This reading is about Artie and his father, Vladek. As they both walk to the bank Vladek began to tell Artie his story about his experience of being a Jew in the 1940’s. In 1943, an order was issued for the Jews in Sosnowiec to move to a village called Srodula, the ghetto. In the ghetto, Vladek and the other Jews were marched to work and marched back after work, then locked in after being counted. Vladek shares his story about him and a few others intrusting their children with a man called Persis, so that they could maybe be spared. His son Richieu was one of the children that went with Persis to Za wiercie. The Germans decided to finish the ghetto they were in, so Tosha decided to poison herself and the children because she didn’t want herself or the children to die in the gas chambers. Vladek and Anja didn’t find out until much later what happened to their son in Zawiercie. Vladek also draws out different bunkers for Artie so he can see the bunkers made that enabled him to survive and hide from the Gestapo. Vladek was caught and then escaped with the help of his friend because he still had valuables to pay for help. After staying in hiding Vladek and Anja finally are able to sneak out without being caught and head towards Sosnoweic. Vladek and Artie arrive to the bank and are getting an extra key for Artie. Vladek shows Artie a few of his things from his deposit box and some of them are valuables that he had since his time hiding in the bunkers. They were valuables that he retrieved after the war ended. The last part of the reading was about Vladek breaking down about missing his first wife Anja and regretting remarrying Mala.

I really liked this comic. I think I read the sequel of this reading. I liked that Art Spiegelman used mice to represent the Jews. I think it softened the harsher parts of the comic. One of the parts I thought were really harsh to read about was the part when the Gestapo men took the small children and smashed them against the wall. I think it is easier to imagine this happening to animals rather than humans. I also think this is a children’s book and I think they would understand the terminology of cats preying on mice and be able to relate it to the Gestapo preying on the Jews. Something I was thinking…Maybe Art Spiegelman used animals to represent the Germans and Jews because it is easier to imagine animals treating each other like how the Gestapo treated the Jews, rather than human beings treating each other that way. It’s hard to imagine people treating other people like how the Gestapo treated the Jews. It almost seems unreal and something that would be made up for horror stories. Maybe Jews running around hiding and how they were treated also made the Jews relatable to animals. I don’t know, these are just some of my thoughts. I would like to know why Art Spiegelman used mice and cats to tell his story…

Prisoner of the Hell Planet reminded me of My Year of Cancer. I didn’t like the art in the Prisoner of the Hell Planet, just like I didn’t like the art in My Year of Cancer. The people look weird and crazy. I think the art compliments the mood of the comic just like in My year of Cancer reading. It helps to tell the story and set the tone of the reading. They still look weird and crazy though...

I liked the combination of words and pictures in this comic, I think they complimented each other well. I felt like the words were the dominant medium telling the story.

18 October 2009


The comic "Maus" starts off with a story from Artie's childhood. He goes off to skate with he is friends, but accidently falls an they leave him, laughing and taunting him. Artie's father is near by and needs his help holding something. Vladek (Artie's father) asks why he is crying and Artie tells him why. after that the really story begans. we flip the page to Artie waking up to a phone call from Mala, who is telling him that his father is actign like the usual old man. He is wanting to fix things around the house. Vladek is becoming to old to be doing the work around th ehouse so he thought it would be a good idea to call his son to help him with the drain pipe. Artie doesn't reslly want to go so he makes up an excuse and give a solution to his father. Artie tells his father to call a repair man, but his V;adek hads already called a neighbor to help him. The next week, Artie goes to visit his father and Mala. He finds his father in the garage and asks him what his doing. Vladek answers with kind of a sour remark, "such jobs, i can do easily by myself" (Artie p. 98). Aertie takes the hint and leaves to greet Mala. He asks her if his father is mad, becuase he didn't want to help with the drain the week before. Mala doesn't think thats why. Then she tells Artie that his father had found and read the comic about his mother. "Prisoner on the Hell Planet," is about how Artie's mother committed suicide, and how it looks as if it were Artie's fault. Right when asrtie and Mala are done talking about the incident, Vladek walks in. Artie doesn't hesitate and asks his father about the comic adn him reading it. Valdek tells him that he found it when Artie asked him to find some stuff for him. Vladek says that he read it and that he cried after. artie tries to apologize for it, but his father insists that it was good for him to get it out of his system (Artie p. 104). Then it seems like Vladek wants a subject change, so he asks Artie if he is ready to walk to the bank with him. On the way to the bank Vladek tells the tale of him and Anja, Artie's late mother, and their survival through WWII. He tells him of how horrible it is to live, even in the better ghettos. Vladek tells of how Jews turned on their own within the camps and the very horrible loss of their family.

I really liked this reading. It pulled me into it, because it was something so real. There wasn't any, "sugar coding" as there is on usual stories of this sort. I really liked how he let us know how Tosha had to take the childrens lives. That part in the story really grabbed me and pulled me further into the story. I also liked the way his father would speak. His sentence structure is really someting else. However, my favorite thing in the entire story is the quote from Hitler. "The Jews are undoubtly a race, but they are not human" (Artie introduction). This automatically blew me away. It is a, truelly a great comic.

Small Sad Mouse Story

This comic starts off with Artie rollerblading with his friends but then breaks his skate and gets ditched. He tells his dad, Vladek, what happens and he tells Artie, "If you can lock them together in a roo for a week then you could see what it is, friends." Then the story flashes forward to the future with Artie getting a phone call from Mala, his step mother complaining about his father fixing a drain on the roof. His father gets on the phone and asks his son to come over to help. He doesn't. A week later Artie goes to his father's house and notices he's acting strange. He finds out from his step mother that Vladek read a comics that Artie made a long time ago about his life. It was a very person comic about his mom's suicide and the things he and his dad went through. Vladek read it and got all the bad memories back that he went through with Anja, his dead wife. Artie and Vladek go for a walk to the bank and on the way Vladek tell his son the story of what they experienced during WWII. He told him of all the hiding, moving, deception, hunger, killing, and most importantly the loss of all Anja's family. She lost everyone. When they arrive at the bank, Vladek tells his son that he's making an extra key to his belongings in case he were to die. In there he has a diamond that he gave to Anja and some other things that he managed to hide during the war. He wants him to have it instead in Mala, who wants all the money for herself after he dies. He tells him that she's already made him change the will four times. He then starts crying and calling out Anja's name.
I enjoyed this comic so much. I really got into it. I feel for them when they have to hide out. I can feel their desperation and fear. I can imagine what I would do in those situations. It must have been so hard. It makes me appreciate the freedom I have. I also feel for the father and son. I can relate to Artie because I sometimes feel the same way about my father. This comic was great.

Mouse Holes

This comic starts out with Artie as a little boy playing with his friends. He starts to cry because his friends leave because his roller skate becomes loose. He goes to his dad crying and his dad tries to comfort him and he tells Artie “that if you lock them together in a room for a week without food then you can see what it is friends!”
The comic shows Artie much older in his bed with his wife, talking on the phone with Mala about his father. His father then gets on the phone and asks Artie if he could come down to his house and help him with the drainage pipe. Artie says he can’t make it and is very sorry. The comic explains that he feels pressure from his father because he can’t do anything right in his eyes. A week later Artie goes to go see his father. When he gets there Artie’s father seems very mad at him. He goes to talk to Mala about it and finds out that he read one of his old comics he made. The comic was pretty much about Arties life. It was very personal. It talked about his mom committing suicide and how hard it was on him and his dad. His dad comes up from down stairs and Artie apologizes about the comic, and they talk about Anja (his mom). His dad forgives him and asks him to go with him to the bank. On the way to the bank the father starts telling Artie a story about his mother and him in the war.
His father tells him a lot of stuff that happened and what he went through. Artie did not realize the things his father had to go through and what he witnessed. He talks about making bunkers so that the Germans could not find them. He talks about how everyday he would get news about one of his close friends dying. One evening they received a visitor who claimed to be a father searching for food for his wife and kid. They sent him away with a little bit of food in the morning. Only to find out that that man was an informer, and later in the afternoon he rated them out to the Germans. They took them to a room with other prisoners. He tried to escape and help other escape but his plan did not work and Anja’s parents died. He continues telling stories about his days in the “ghetto” and how he found his way to survive along with Anja.
I enjoyed this comic. I learned a lot. I felt really bad for Arties father. He had gone through a lot. In the comic you can tell that their relationship between father and son grows a lot stronger as Artie begins to realize what his father went through. This comic was touching.

family history

This was a very interesting comic. It was a story about a son and his father, how this son did not appreciate his father and felt that his father always competed with him. He felt that he could never do anything right compared to his father. In reality his father had just been through so much that he wanted his son to do and be better. To me it started as a everyday family story, a son feels the pressure of his father and the father putting pressure on him from his past, and wanting his son to be better and not live as he did. His son did not realize his fathers past and what he had to endure to get where he is. He later realizes his father's story when his father see's a old comic that he had written a long time ago.This comic offended his father and brought him to tears. His son not realizing this when writting now see's the affect it has after listening to his father story of getting through the war.

This has to be my favorite comic so far. It is a real life story of someones journey. It was very realistic and got me involved as if I was right there in those bunkers. The names and the translation of certain sentences were a little confusing however, the story was great. This is a comic that I could read some more of. the art was not as great as I would have liked it to be but I feel that was the point. I feel that it was not that great so it did not take away from the story, it just added a little more to it.