Different But Fun Experience!

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          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.

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One thought on “Different But Fun Experience!

  1. I thought it was interesting that you chose the words “fun” and “enjoyable” to describe your experience when reading Maus. My experience was different. I felt that Spiegelmen’s graphic narrative did lighten the mood typically associated with the holocaust; however, I did not find it fun. The story was very tragic and intertwined with personal details that made the story come to life. The graphic novel held my attention, but the story was still a sorrowful tale. I do agree that it was a different and intriguing presentation of the story of the holocaust. For me, reading the story in images helped my mind not wander farther than it should. For example, there was a picture of a guard slamming a kid against the wall, but all we could see were the child’s feet. By seeing this image rather than reading a vivid description, the story was less gruesome. Also, by using animals the story was less shocking than a graphic novel with humans would have been. Near the middle of the book, Spiegelman presents another comic “Prisioner on the Hell Planet” in which he uses humans. I felt much more disturbed by this portion rather than the rest of the book which uses animals. My experience with Maus was not fun, but I appreciated the way Spiegelmen presented his story and gained a better understanding of the personal side of the holocaust and second hand victims.

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