Art Spiegel man's MAUS: A Survivor's Tale, I - My Father Bleeds History & II - And Here My Troubles Began
Maus is a biographical graphic novel telling the story of the author's father, Vladek Spiegelman, his life in Poland before the Second World War and his experiences in Auschwitz. The book uses the device of representing different nationalities as animals, drawn in a simple cartoon fashion - the Jews are represented by mice, the Poles are pigs, the Germans are cats and so on.
Art Spiegelman's Maus is an extraordinary novel which depicts the horror and grueling life led by a Jewish man during the years of the holocaust. Covering the time of freedom, to the rise of the Nazis, to the forced move to the ghettos, to hiding from the Germans, then ultimately the ushering into Auschwitz, the novel covers a time span of about five years of fright, uncertainty, and the inability to know if you would wake up the next day or not. Throughout both Maus volumes, Spiegelman values distinct species of animals to comprise distinct ethnic groups—Jews are mice, Nazis are cats, the Polish are drawn as pigs, and non-Jewish Americans are drawn as dogs. However, only their heads resemble animals, and remainder of their bodies gaze, proceed, dress, and converse like humans. Maus: A Survivor's Tale I: My Father Bleeds History undoes with Artie Spiegelman, comprising himself as a humanoid mouse, going to his dad, Vladek, for data about the Holocaust.
Written in the 1980's, and looking back at the 1940's, we hear a narrative by Vladek - Art Spiegelman's father - as he tells his son about the years in Poland leading up to his fate in Auschwitz. He tells his son about the total disregard for human souls by the German soldiers, the terrible living conditions, the inability to live without strict rules, the tiny availability of food, the physically grueling workload being demanded of him and his cohorts, the rampant spread of disease, and the terrible visions of charred corpses and dying people all around him.
Besides the terrible images painted of Auschwitz, Spiegelman's novel also gives way to his personal life, as he writes about what is occurring during the time he is crafting the story. Written over a period of fourteen years, Maus not only talks about Nazi Germany and concentration camps, but also about Vladek's current life, Art's current relationship with his father, and various issues within the family that don't really have much to do with the holocaust. I find this to be an enjoyably little escape from the constant sadness and helplessness being depicted by the story at hand.
Maus can be viewed as not only a historical account of one man's experience during the holocaust, but also as a story of love. Vladek was separated by his wife, Anja, when entering Auschwitz, and throughout his capture he displays undisputed resiliency and discipline in an attempt to see his wife and keep her safe and alive. Such a large chunk of ...