12 July 2010

Maus Trap!!!

Basically the book "Maus" by Art Spiegelman is about these mice, who are Jews, and live in this town called Czestochowa which was in Germany. Artie started going out with this mouse named Vladek. They were going out for about 3 to 4 years and then Artie found another mouse named Anja. When Vladek first got married to Anja, they both lived a luxurious life is Sosnowiec altogether with his in-laws. Of course, when the war came, they suffered a 180 degree spin in their lives as all the comforts they were used to where taken away from them and had to manage with what little was available. Throughout these hostile situations, Vladek acted like a very strong and clever man, and he even established important relations that helped him in his way to salvation. His survival skills and his instinct were at their utmost, as he was one of the few who made it to the end.
In chapter 5, Mouse Holes, In Srodula, the Germans begin to round up Jews at random. To protect himself and his family, Vladek builds a shelter under a coal bin, in which they hide during the Nazi searches. Soon, though, they are moved to a different house. Again, Vladek builds a shelter, this time in the attic and accessible only through a chandelier in the ceiling. One evening, as they are leaving the shelter, they see a stranger below. It is a Jew, who tells them he was only looking for food for his starving child. They think about killing him to be sure that he will not report them, but they take pity on him and give him some food. That afternoon, the Gestapo arrives and takes Vladek and his family into a secure compound in the middle of the ghetto.
The compound is a waiting area for transport to Auschwitz. Vladek enlists his cousin, Haskel, who is chief of the Jewish Police, to help. In exchange for a diamond ring, Haskel arranges for the release of Vladek and Anja. Anja's parents also send valuables to Haskel, but in the end he chooses not to help them. At this point in the Holocaust, family loyalties have largely eroded, and it is every man for himself.
The first, Art Spiegelman’s graphic novel Maus, can work very well as an introduction to the Holocaust. Because the story is told through the medium of “the comics,” students find it very accessible. I myself find it to be very overwhelming, it relates to Anne Frank and I took that story very personal. But there is little that is “comic” about the story of Vladek Spiegeleman, the author’s father, and his mother, both of whom manage to survive by combination of extraordinary resourcefulness on the part of Vladek and sheer luck. The story continues after the the Holocaust to show how for many survivors, there really is no end to the suffering and horror. Speigelman takes great care to set the historical context for his father’s experiences, so that even students without much direct knowledge of the Holocaust can understand the story.


  1. Not a bad post, Josh, but I think you have your characters crossed; Artie is Vladek's son :-) Also, proofread.

  2. oh dude... i was not satisfied at all with the diary of anne frank. i totally get why Spiegelman got the Pulitzer... Maus shows the experience in a totally different way... yay for comics! ;)