1. What is one of Art Spiegelman’s Claims or Purposes for writing?
Maus is an autobiographical story about the Holocaust in the form of a graphic novel. The author Art Spiegelman tells the story of his father’s experience as a Jew during the Holocaust. The story also focuses on Spiegelman’s interactions with his father when he visits him to record some of his life stories for a book he was making. One of Spiegelman’s purposes for writing this graphic novel was to help readers learn the terrible effects the Holocaust had on the families of survivors. Not only does he want readers to learn about his father’s experiences during the Holocaust but more importantly he wanted readers to gain insight into how it affected his own life being the son of a Holocaust survivor. Art’s mother committed suicide and he also had a brother he never met that died, both due to the horrors of the Holocaust. Basically, Art Speigelman gives readers a new way to learn about the horrible realities of the Holocaust.
2. What (kind of) Evidence does he use to support this?
Art Spiegelman seemed to use quite a few different types of evidence to support his claim. For example, he used personal stories from his life (and his fathers) to back up his purpose. By including the sad, horrific details of their lives the reader really gets a good idea at the impact the Holocaust had on both Vladek, a Holocaust survivor and Art, the child of survivors. We learn about the terrible experiences his father had to go through and learn that they both lost someone they loved, Art’s mother. His brother also died as a result of the Holocaust as well. The dialogue that is used in the story gives us a good idea of the type of strained relationship that Art and his father seem to have due to his father’s life experiences during the Holocaust. Art Speigelman’s use of pictures also helps the reader get a much better picture of his purpose in their minds. The way he decided to make all the different types of people represented as different animals in the story also helped support the claim he was trying to make. By making the Jews mice and Germans cats Spiegelman successfully reinforces the horrors that Jewish families in Europe had experienced by their predators. Just like in real life, these cats(the Germans) hunt down the mice(Jews).
3. Does he explain how this Evidence supports his Claim/Purpose? In other words, does he have Analysis or does he ask the reader to do make the connections on their own?
Due to the way this story was written as a graphic novel, I don’t feel that Spiegelman fully explains how this evidence supports his claim. Although the story in general does a great job at pointing out the horrors of the Holocaust, much is left up to the reader to connect the dots. For example, having the Germans represented as cats and the Jews as mice leaves the reader to come to the conclusion on his own that the Germans were the hungry predators and the mice were the prey. Also the dialogue used in the story between father and son can be left up to the reader’s own interpretation. In my case sometimes I felt Art’s father was too hard on him because Vladek was holding him up to his own standards. Someone else reading this may interpret their relationship in a different way than me.