Bilingual People Are Smart


Reading the essay “Why Foreign-Language Study Should Be Required” by Nia Tuckson, I came across few interesting thoughts and viewpoints. From one side I think it’s very important to know more than one language. A person can get a lot more opportunities simply by being bilingual. For example, by meeting new people and studying more about their culture, and there are more job offers for bilingual people. Simply when speaking another language, the same person is now worth two people and this deal is very profitable for businesses. In February 2011 United Press International published an article that quoted the following. “The researchers found students who spoke Russian and Hebrew demonstrated higher proficiency not only in English, but also in Hebrew. In the intelligence test, the gap was more than 7 percent on the side of the Russian speakers.” It is proven that if a person who is bilingual then it is easier for him to study more languages and their IQ tends to be on a higher-level then monolingual person. On the other hand, if the school requires students to learn the second language, then the pressure of simply making a student speaking another language results is some student hating bilingualism. For example I love reading books, but when my class required reading a book that I knew was a good book, I did not enjoy reading it simply because I was pressured to do it. Only after the school year was over I could pick up this book and enjoy reading it without any outside pressure. Personally I am very happy that through my life circumstances I learned a second language, this way I made more friends and learned a lot more stuff such as the American culture, and actually being involved in it. I hope that other people realize that knowing a second language will help them in life and make their life more diverse.



Team Work

Like we talked about in class, there are pros and cons to utilizing group projects. Some people might prefer to work alone, or might not think group projects are as fair in grading. But in my opinion, group projects for presentations and argumentative essays….. ect are great. With a group of people there are a lot more opinions, ideas, strengths, and weaknesses. Being in groups also allows for more creativity.

Say Jim Bob was given an assignment to write an essay and present a presentation about legalizing gay marriage or not. Let’s say Jim Bob is gay, and so of course he is fore legalizing marriage. His essay would be for legalization but he would not have very many reasons as to why we should not legalize it. Jim bob is also not good at public speaking, so when he goes to present his essay and presentation to the class, it’s a hot mess.

If Jim Bob did this assignment as a group project, the outcome of the essay and the presentation would be much better. Maybe some of the people in the group are not for legalizing marriage and have good reasons as to why. Jim Bob would have never thought of those reasons unless he collaborated with his group. And when you’re in a group, there are more delegating jobs. So Jim Bob is not a good Public speaker, but Jesika (a peer in Jim Bobs group) loves speaking in front of a crowed and would make the presentation flow much better.

When working in groups in general there are more ideas, more opinions, and allows people to use their strengths to better the project. If one person is good at organizing, they should be the group leader, if someone is good at visuals, they should focus on the presentation, if someone is good at writing, and they should focus on the essay. Overall I just think a group is better than one.

What to expect

When I began to purchase this book, I thought it was just another large boring novel that I would have to spark note because I hate reading. I will admit when i purchase this book I set it on the television until before the week it was due. I picked it up and decided that this book will be one I read. As i opened this i realized it was a comic and had to deal with animals. I began to read, then 3 hours later i realized I was so far into the book I didnt realize i was almost done. It was so interesting.

As you read this book it brings out a lot of things that happen in the past that most people over look. This story may not be 100% true, but it is a story someone from the holistic experienced. It brings out the relationship between arte and his father. They talk about how they grow and the experiences they went through growing up with a family that went through the holistic. They also show the how arte’s relationship with his brother and mother. Arte grows with in his own self while writing this book. This book brings out the history between what we read in history books and what actually happen. This book bring to life the reality with a certain spark by adding animals.

The future of literacy, graphic narratives!

We read a couple weeks ago we read an article by Gunther Kress that explained how literacy is changing in the modern age. Maus is a great example of that. Spiegelman could have opted to the traditional way of sharing stories and just write it in a novel. Instead he decided to do a comic book out of it. He was able to share his story and let the reader have a visual to show exactly what he wanted us to understand. He was able to accomplish the same thing that many other people have, he just did through a different medium.

I believe that whats makes his story so vivid and real is the fact that the way he shared his story is really unique. Many other people have written memoirs, and novels over what happened in the holocaust. Spiegelman’s story could have easily been just one more added to that list, but his comic book makes it stand out from the rest. I’ve never been much for comic books, in fact this is the first comic book that I read completely. I know that a couple years from now I am still going to remember Maus because of the unique experience I had reading it.

Maus proves that graphic narratives are gaining more popularity and respect. When I first bought Maus i thought I had purchased the wrong book. I didn’t think I would be reading comic books in College. That was my first reaction when I saw that it was a comic book. Now that I have read it I understand that graphic narratives are also effective and could become more popular if more people realized how effective they can be. I agree with Kress when he says that literacy is being transformed. I believe it’s being transformed for the better.

What is Art’s True Interpretation?

When I first purchased Maus I was a bit concerned just because when I opened the book I saw it was a comic. A long comic at that. I have never read a comic book in my life, so when I saw this it threw me off a bit. I never thought that I would have enjoyed a book with this style of writing. But I do have to say that it is creative and unique and was quite an easy read. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel. Although I am not quite done I find it intriguing and interesting. I really love the way he makes his dad sound real. And like he’s from Poland with his English sentence structure and choice of words.

On the other hand, one thing I did notice was how Artie feels like he has to compete with his “ghost brother.” Even though I could never picture having to feel envious of someone who has passed, I think that his parents have made it quite clear that they really loved Richieu and made it certain that he would never go out of their memory. This takes a toll on Artie I think simply because even though he tries his best to succeed, he will never add up to his brother. I found it a bit heartbreaking at the end of the novel on the last picture Artie’s dad lays down in bed, groans and says “I’m tired from talking, Richieu, and it’s enough stories for now…” I can only imagine what Artie was feeling at the moment, but I’m sure it didn’t make him feel comforted about his father’s health of mind. I wish that we knew what his true interpretation was of this slide.

What did Art really mean?

Maus- The Superior Holocaust Narrative


Jews stuck on a German train

As the Wall Street Journal states on the back of the Maus, the book is “the most affecting and successful narrative ever done about the Holocaust.” This is odd seeing as Maus is a graphic narrative. Most narratives that cover the Holocaust are done using words and pictures separately. Generally such a narrative would be either a book with a lot of words and a couple pictures, or a book with a lot of pictures and just a few words in the caption. The difference between these regular narratives and graphic narratives is that in graphic narratives, the words and pictures are mixed. Comics use words in pictures, and also put pictures amidst words. This is called cross-discursive narration, or narration across two mediums—image and text. This use of both mediums allows for the fast, easy absorption of information because of the image. Usually, a quick glance at a picture gives you the idea behind it. Meanwhile, cross-discursive narration communicates much more information than an image alone because of the added text. The text goes into greater detail, and adds to the visual argument the image presents. Maus in particular is a cross-discursive narrative that quite easily communicates profound arguments to its readers. The comics portray the Jews of the Holocaust as mice, while showing the Nazis as cats. This display of cats and mice creates an easily understood analogy of the conflict between the two species. You have heard of Tom and Jerry. And even if you haven’t, it is natural to imagine enmity between cats and mice. In many different ways, these juvenile cartoon-like comics communicate themes such as the conflict between Jews and Nazis quickly and easily, while not losing the depth and reality of the Holocaust.

The picture I chose shows how simply and quickly Maus communicates a theme. It shows the desperation that the Jews had during the war, while only using a few words and a single image.

Different But Fun Experience!

         Click on image to see location

          Reading Maus by Art Spiegelman was a really fun experience! Not always do we find a comic book about a personal experience during the Holocaust and a book that uses animals as characters. The comic book is an example of cross- discursive: a concept described in “Graphic Narrative” written by Hillary Chute and Marianne DeKoven.  Maus is cross discursive because “it is composed of verbal and visual narratives that do not simply blend together, creating a unified whole, but rather remain distinct.” In my opinion such concept is beneficial in many ways. Having an image that supports the text gives more meaning and clarity to what you are reading.  Maus is a great example of how cross- discursive can benefit the reader. In the book, Spiegelman’s dad narrates his personal experience during the holocaust to his son. With the help of pictures that describe each scene Vladek recounts, the reader is able to have an idea of what really is going on. Through the use of different animals, the author depicts different human races: Jews as mice, Germans as cats, and Poles as pigs. Not only do the pictures help differentiate the characters but they also give the story a different meaning. Though the Holocaust is one of the worse events in the history of the world, the author does a great job creating a not so melancholic mood.  Utilizing the animals as characters lessen the depressing and stressful mood that is created through author’s family experiences during the Holocaust. I really also like the way Spiegelman writes the book in present tense, and it is only through occasional interviews with his dad that the author obtains information about the Holocaust. This writing style helps the reader to not only focus on the unfortunate events told by his father.

I believe the comic book Maus is a great example that a good writer has the capability to inform his/her audience about unfortunate event through a more enjoyable medium.

What to expect from Maus!

When I first opened Maus I didn’t know what to expect all I knew was I was holding a thick heavy book that sounds like mouse but is spelled completely different. When I first opened the book I was shocked to see that it was all a comic strip? In my opinion it was very easy to read. I have a very hard time staying focused and picturing what is actually going on and who is actually speaking. But with Maus I can see what they look like I can see what they are doing and see where they are instead of having to guess. No the pictures can’t move like a movie but each box has a different picture and each box has short sentences but it is enough to get a good understanding of what is happening. The pictures help portray a perfect understanding of the book. Without the images being so graphic but at the same time not graphic it makes the book real. I feel as if I am there with the mice in Auschwitz and honestly it is kinda scary. Once I stop reading I get very scared and sad and depressed. It scares me because the images and the violence and everything those innocent people went through really hit me and I felt scared and sad for them. How could people treat other human beings in such a way? How can they live with themselves? The whole book makes you realize that this was real. I feel some people don’t understand how real the holocaust was and I was one of those people I had read about it seen movies and pictures about it but never have I read or seen anything like Maus. It makes me feel like I was there starving and cold. And that thought honestly scares me to death! I could not imagine having to go through that, but I felt as if I did when I was reading this book.


Sometimes Apperance is Everything!

My favorite thing about the images in Maus are Speilgalman’s decision to make each group a different animal. I found this very helpful because it would be hard to tell the Jews from the Natzi’s unless every Jew had a Star of David on their shirt and each Natzi had a swastika. Now instead of having to look closely at every character to decide what group they belonged to, you could just take one quick glance and know. I also liked the fact that he made the Jews wear pig masks when pretending to be Polish. At first I was a little confused because I couldn’t understand how the Natzis failed to realize that they were wearing masks. Apparently I had become a little to used to the whole animal senario and was starting to believe that each group looked completely different from each other. If the characters had been drawn as people, the reader probably would miss the fact that Jews were pretending to be Polish while in the city. And there if he had not drawn the masks, the readers would be confused about why nobody notices the random Jewish man in the middle of the street.

I also liked that the characters were drawing because it made the whole story less creepy to me. I found the comic strip of Artie’s mother to be very disturbing, not just due to the story line but also how he drew each person. With all the dark colors and solem faces it was hard not to feel depressed while reading the comic. Although the Holocaust is a very depressing matter, the fact that Speilgalman used less black and cute little animals in his book made the book easier to read in one sitting instead of having to take constant breaks to take your mind off the depressing matter. Instead of having to look at dead men, women and children, the reader would look at dead mice.