Maus was supposed to be boring!

When assigned the reading assignment of Maus I was very discouraged, I work two jobs and have other classes, and did not think I would have the time or energy to be able to read a book I was not interested in. To my surprise, once I started reading it I could not stop. I was not bored at all and actually enjoyed it. Perhaps it was due to the format, which also caught me by surprise upon reading it. I have never read a book quite like the format of Maus. It was interesting to be able to read a detailed story of one’s life through the holocaust era and still be intrigued by the comic book format. In high school I was required to read a book for my english class about the holocaust as well. This was one of the most boring books I have ever read. It seemed long, and drawn out. Now some may say I found this book so boring, and Maus not boring at all because of the different formats. I agree that this is true, but I also have read many books without this comic book, artistic format which I have loved. While I agree that reading, and communicating through text is a dying form I also think that some times its more beneficial to have both artistic values and written text in a document, making the book, paper, news, or whatever it may be, much more appealing to the reader.


Show and Tell

bacon comic(

So many things can be said through words, but it is impossible to capture the same emotion that comes from an image. In the words of Gunther Kress, “Images are plain full with meaning, whereas words wait to be filled” (Kress 4). Images are more attractive than words, and in many ways our society prefers them. For example, many have abandoned reading the newspaper all together, while some only read it for the comics. In place of this textual news source there are websites that prominently feature pictures with some words to detail stories. With advancements in technology, our society has become fascinated with the power of the image. Snap chat, pinterest, and instagram are some of the more popular ways people use images rather than words. Images are not necessarily replacing words, we have just discovered the empowering emotional affect that is captured through a picture in a way words cannot.

Comic strips and graphic novels go beyond using only images and creatively integrate text within each graphic. In his book Maus, Art Spiegelman uses vivid imagery in order to connect with his audience in a way that words alone cannot accomplish. In his story, the main character argues with his father that personal life details will make a good story and he says, “But Pop – It’s great material. It makes everything more real – more human” (Spiegelman 25). Just as personal details help to fill in a factual story, so do images represent what text alone fails to portray. Had Spiegelman simply written that his father was left alone with his wife because of the death of their many family members and child, this would not have had the same emotional affect as the detailed image version. He draws the wife lying on the ground and the words “I don’t want to live” are near her widely stretched open mouth, while her husband grabs her shoulders and comforts her by calmly stating, “No, Darling! To die, it’s easy…but you have to struggle for life!” (Spiegelman 124). Comics along with graphic novels are very convincing works because not only do they tell a story, but they also show what is happening.




Kress, Gunther R. Literacy in the New Media Age. London: Routledge, 2003. 1-8. Print.Spiegelman, Art. The Complete Maus. New York: Pantheon, 1997. Print.


Logic of the Written Text

“The futures of Literacy: Modes, Logics, and Affordances.” This much is very clear, I believe the image and text function is according to distinctive logics Kress describes. Within the text, word follows word. The sequentiality of these few pages involves a distinct commitment, both for writers and for readers, to paths and to naming. “Text inheres time, where as image inheres space,” Kress tells us. The image shows some kind of commitment to location and while Kress explains details at the importance of perceptual paths for readers of images, that point won’t necessarily get extended early on. Here are a few examples of Kress’ media and affordances he discusses: 1) Multimodality is made easy, usual or natural by these technologies. 2) Writing is becoming an ‘assembly according to designs’ in which ways are overt, and much more far-reaching, then they were previously. 3) It is possible to see writing become more subordinated to the logic of the visual in many or all of its uses. These subordinates concern Kress, and I feel as if it will burn up the ultimate play as a beware-of-image argument for writing conservation. If writing is necessarily sequential; one word or unit has to come before another. In an image, one object will necessarily be positioned above/under/etc., relative to another. Stating that,images may have a certain “order of being read”, but not in the same, compelling way text has an order. “When few people published, authoring gave them authority.” “When everyone can publish, there is less authority in it. This opens up for greater democracy.” Basically, textbooks are now influenced by “screen mode”; they are not organized by chapters, but by topics, and have boxes and figures etc., like worksheets between two solid covers. I do believe that when writing was the dominating mode the images used in texts were made to fit the “logic of the written text.” In this era, when the screen is dominating, the writing has to fit with “the logic of the image. Writing fits in how, where and when the logic of the image-space suggests.”

Showing Hate

Maus- swastika
Just the sight of the swastika symbol instantly consumes me with extreme sadness and distress beyond description.  It’s a terrifying image which symbolizes the evil and hate of the Nazi regime, led by Adlof Hitler, and the atrocities they inflicted upon those whom they considered inferior, mostly the Jews.  Consequently, it’s not an image I care to look at.  However, the swastika is an image that we should never forget.  According to Fae Myenne Ng, “Remembering the past gives power to the present.”  By remembering the tyranny, terror, and genocide committed by the Nazi’s, for which the swastika symbolizes, we are given the power to prevent it from happening again. There is a wealth of information to help us remember this reign of terror, yet it’s easy to ignore, even understandable to want to forget.  Still, we can’t forget it if we are to learn from it.  Because of narrative work such as Maus, the graphic narrative about a Jewish family that survived the holocaust, we are empowered to remember the past.  As one reads Maus, we are forced to face the cruel lessons of history.  Though, as a graphic narrative, which is written and drawn much like comics, the reader is not bogged down by text.  Instead, the images offer meaning to the words which enables the reader to share in the fear and pain this family experienced.  Thereby, allowing us to be visually pulled into the story. Additionally, the reader is persuaded to keep reading about this family, and in the process, to learn more about the plight of the Jews and to remember what happened.  Personally, I think any other format for this narrative would be less enticing to most readers, primarily because we would have to fill the words with our own meaning rather than have the images show us their meaning.  Gunther Kress, in “Literacy in the New Media Age,” describes it as “the world told is a different world to the world shown.”  Maus, through words and images, effectively shows us a world which we cannot relate to and hopefully never will.

Picture from:

Works cited:
Chute, Hilary and Marianne DeKoven.  Introduction:  Graphic Narrative
Kress, Gunther.  Literacy in the New Media Age

Loss of Original


In the advance age that we are in, people struggle to keep the originality of their works. Many of the resources are now commonly available in the World Wide Web and can be accessed without much effort. Many of the information available took ages to gather and the founders in return get little credit. Scholars were looked highly upon for their knowledge and even when my grandfather was in his youth, people with education and knowledge were regarded highly in the society. Today, I feel that because our generation is capable of effortlessly find information, we lose the respect we have for the ones who provided those information for us.
Personally I would like to tackle on the impact emails and texting had over hand-written letters. When I was in Korea, letters were common form of communication. When I returned from school, I will see my mother’s letter on the dining table that delivered the location of food. That was my secondary happiness after playing soccer with my friends. A letter was written for my parents on parent’s day, another one for the teacher on teacher appreciation day, and another on for my friends on their birthday. Letters composed of personal messages that were carefully thought out and delivered in paper. The type of paper will closely be chosen and the utensil will also be closely configured. However, when the age of cell phones came through and every child held in their possession an electronic device, letters quickly diminished. An event of birth was simply celebrated my happy b-day through text or by a post on Facebook. This form of text is so common the original authorship is lost and simply seen a copy. That’s one of the point that Kress made in his academic journal.
The originality of the author has been lost for everyone can now access the World Wide Web and simply make that idea theirs. Even when they are paraphrasing, the credit does not go to the original author. Because many private ideas and achievement have been posted on the Web, it’s up for anyone to grab and use it in their own conversation; then the originality have already been lost through one step.

Lets use Pictures and Texts

In a general learning environment, I think students can get a much better understanding of content with printed words along with visuals such as pictures, graphs or comics. In my personal experience with reading any kind of a text book I found that with reading the written material alone, I did not have a full understanding of what was trying to be said. But when I went back and read the book or chapter or section again and looked at the pictures that went along with the text as I read, I had I much better and general understanding of the material. The same thing goes for math as well. With just one look at a written equation I find myself completely lost, but if the equation is on a graph I can tell you anything you would want to know.  However, I do not think printed text in general should go away completely. I just feel like visuals are a good accent to written text and allow more students a better understanding of what’s being read. A good example is like an anatomy book, if a text book writer had to describe in words how each bone in the body looked like and where it is located would take up pages upon pages. A simple solution would be to just have a picture of the skeletal system with labels of each bone. This would be using images along with text and would branch out to several different learning types. I feel like images are getting more common in day to day life opposed to words. Now with all kinds of different smiley faces, plants, automobiles, location and just random items or actions, you can describe your whole day with few or no words at all through a text message to someone. I think it much easier to use pictures anyways because if anyone has dyslexia, like me, pictures don’t move around like words on pages do. J So overall, I think that teachers, instructors and professors should use more images to allow their student to reference to and they might just see an increase in the class average.

Write or Draw? Why Not Both??


Napoleon Bonaparteonce said: “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Before reading the article “Introduction: Graphic Narrative,” I never thought that people even argue about having words along with pictures. Hillary Chute and Marianne DeKoven state in this article “graphic narratives, on the whole, have the potential to be powerful precisely because they intervene against a culture of invisibility by taking the risk of representation.” I could agree with them, because after reading “Maus,” (the textbook story about the holocaust), just by looking at the pictures you can imagine the story in much detail without reading without needing the narratives, but when the narratives are added along with the pictures, the story is captured both visually and narratively. This way the reader has words that tell the story and pictures that visualize the same story. Reading the “The Futures of Literacy Modes, Logics and Affordances,” I came across an argument that talks about the changes in our modern literature: writing is substituted with images and books are substituted with screens. We tend to go from one border to another border: from just writing to just images, from actually reading a hard cover book to having an iPad that glows a book at us. Images and literature are two powerful tools that when combined together they produce a masterpiece that is both explained and visualized. Long time ago in Egypt lacking the technological abilities, the only way the literature could be recorded was through drawings, later as the humanity progressed by creating paper and ink and then the literature was in the written form, now our technology allows us to present both images and writing at the same time and this way the history is both captured and written. Truly “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and thousand words with the picture are worth thousands of thoughts.

Kids and violent video games


Kids in this day and age are growing more and more dependent on video games and television for the means of their entertainment, which isn’t always a good thing. Parents are resorting to simply taking the easy way out of having to interact with their kids and instead handing them an xbox, ipad, or even iphone. All three of which all include violent PG13 gaming material accessible by even a four year old child. Some of the games include Modern warfare, Skyrim, Call of Duty, and Dead Space. Just a few popular ones from the hundreds of mass murder and gory trash thats out there. Dead Space being a game played through xbox, as well as also being number one of the top ten worst video games for children according to Shooting german Nazi zombies spewing blood and guts should never be a five year olds form of entertainment. Letting your child not be active and social through sports or outdoor activities, but instead playing violent video games just reflects horrible parenting. I believe video games should be permitted but ONLY by adults over the age of 21, any age below that is still considered a child and greatly influenced by anything they come in contact with. Violent video games are destructive to a child’s mind, by teaching what combat in the military is like, as seen in Black Opps (Call Of Duty). In Black Opps they simulate what looks to be a real life war including guns, knives and grenades. The objective being to get the most kill streaks than the other team. Combat in the military mentally messes with the soldiers, but becomes seen as fun entertainment to most kids in this day and age. Parents should definitely monitor what their children play video game wise.

Are Video Games Really the Issue?

Most people think we are becoming more violent but are we really? Where there not wars? Were there not gangsters in the past? There have been wars since before we could spell and gangsters were even more cold blooded then they are today. Everyone wants to point the finger at anything that’s not themselves, when in reality there’s more fingers pointing back at you.
According to many Sociology books and sociologists, violence is decreasing in America. If this is true then the statistics of every concerned parent or citizen about video games causing violence is irrelevant. Just because there are a few young mentally ill people that copies things they see on video games, does not mean the games are the problem. Maybe the problem is them. Video games are not the only things people reenact, copy cats will reenact anything they think is cool whether that is a cartoon gangster or their friends doing illegal things.
Video games are more so things that we can escape into, creating different people so you don’t have to worry about your personal stress for a little while. Getting to be someone different even for just 30 minutes can be very therapeutic for some people. Even if you’re a bad guy, you relieve anger by getting to cause someone else pain without having to actually do it. Although, not every game is appropriate for kids, but that is why they have ratings. Some may say well your teaching your kids to hurt people and I will never let my kids play violent games. Well those are the parents whose kids actually hurt people. When you restrain a child from letting out their anger out you are just making them bundle it up and one day they are going to lose it. I grew up with a lot of anger issues and started playing grand thief auto when I was 5 years old, even though that was too much of an adult game, it let me vent for a little while. I’ve never went and shot up anything and I’ve never even used a gun. To say video games are the issue is like saying candy is the reason you have cavities.

Video games? really?

There are a lot of different types of games out in this world. There are fighting games, racing, fun family games, and much much more. More people every day are playing video games. There are young kids to older adults playing the same games.
Children these days are becoming more mature then what they should be. When I was 10 years old i played outside and ran around. I did have video games a game cube and Nintendo. I played video games every once and a while. I never stayed up all hours of the night to play games. Kids now a days are up all night playing video games that are suitable for their age.
You have parents out in the world that go out and buy their children these games, not know what they are about or caring what they are about. As I was playing xbox the other night I began playing with a little boy whose names was destroy_all_nosurvivors, he was 10 years old. As we began to play he was cursing and shouting about how many kills he had. We were all playing the new COD, which by law he is not old enough to play. Actions like these from children who should be in bed getting ready for school, not cursing and screaming at a games at 11 clock at night.
I do believe the world has changed from video games these days. In the older days there where people killing people, but not like today. People play games (parents let their children play these games) and they bring hate inside of them. With the theater shooting in Colorado and the children who has shoot up school. A lot of these events has had the tactical strategies of new video games that have came out. Parent s should watch more carefully, and have them play games and act their own age. Aslo play games they are age credited for.

Gun Violence



Gun violence is something that has become too common in the United States. In the last couple of years our nation has witnessed horrible events like massacres at movie theaters and elementary schools. Right after a horrible event like that people usually try to find someone or something to blame. Politicians try to push for gun control laws and religious leaders say that America needs more of God in their life. There are others who think that the violent American media is the one to blame. Many people have many theories to explain this horrible trend that has taken place in our nation. Documentaries like “Bowling for Columbine” by Michael Moore try to take different approaches to explain this unprecedented event.

I don’t believe that any of these reasons are to blame completely for the shootings that have happened recently. Our society as a whole has change drastically, and the combination of all these things explain why there has been so much gun violence. People see guns in movies, video games, and even use them for hunting. 100 years ago a kid didn’t see nearly as many guns as a kid does today. Now our society makes it normal for children to be exposed to violent images which gives ideas to people with malicious intentions.

Last year I went to Honduras, a third world country where the way of living is completely different from the one in North Texas. They do have access to cable tv and internet and most of the stuff that we use everyday, but they choose not to use it. The television is not the main entertainment, but more of a last resort item. Kids spend most of their time playing with other kids in the neighborhood and at the park. At my grandparents house there are more than 5 guns and are constantly used for hunting and things of that nature. In fact, most of the households in that country have at least one gun, but school and movie shootings don’t happen. Like in any other region of the world, violence does exist but in a different form.

Violent Media… Attributes & Behavior


Every person is different… some may not be influenced to an extreme extent to commit violent acts… but others very well may be. An example would be a “copy-cat violence act” which is where someone witnesses an act of violence and is influenced by it to recreate it… A couple watched natural born killers and then went and killed a cotton mill manger…shot him twice in the head and than did the same thing to a convenience store clerk…video games, movies, television, music, etc. could attribute, and studies have shown that violent media can increase aggression… but overall I don’t believe you can put a “blame” on the media for violence… If someone is that impressionable than they lack character, class, morals, and empathy… even if you were raised in a hostile environment… that shouldn’t be a “scapegoat” or an excuse for wrong actions done… people know right from wrong and as for adolescents yes they should be able to play/watch what they want…I think there are more productive options, rather than violence but I can’t control that… however there needs to be parenting… before having kids everyone tends to get caught up in the fantasy world of a perfect family with a little “baby” that’s adorable and wonderful… but unfortunately that isn’t the case and their kids are thrown into negative/violent exposures… so parenting is a must and need to teach values, if the parents don’t have values than that’s a great time for the family to learn. :mrgreen: Studies also show that the most people who are influenced by violent media, in most cases have a previous criminal record, severe mental health problems, or a history of violence… saying that the violent media is affecting more criminal behavior with people already labeled with problems… rather than increasing the number of criminals… A matter of Nature vs. Nurture… numerous things contribute to how people are affected/influenced by something and a long list of possibilities… Every person is different! 😈