“A remarkable work, awesome in its conception and execution… at one and the same time a novel, a documentary, a memoir, and a comic book. Brilliant, just brilliant.”
-Jules Feiffer (1)
This is a commentary by Jules Feiffer about “Maus”, which is a survivor’s tale created by Art Spiegelman. As you can see from the commentary, this is a wonderful story, not only its the writing but also the art. The author made the story interesting that attracts many readers by changing many things from the first 3 –page version of Maus.
To analyse this story, first of all, we need to understand about the writing of this story.
Spiegelman focuses on many things in this story and the events in 1940s made them connected. In chapter 1, Vladek is a cold man; he could break up with Lucia just because of money. “Money can buy everything” seems to be the reasoning in this chapter. Because of money, he would marry Anja, whom he didn’t love. The focus at this point is not only on Vladek’s characteristics but also on a new beginning for Vladek, he would change many characteristics. In chapter 2, we see that Vladek took care of Anja when she got sick. Hysterica is a disease that can be cured not only by medicine but also by spirit. Anja couldn’t be comfortable if Vladek wasn’t by her side. I think that Vladek did everything for Anja because of his true love. I agree that this love began because of money but it grew up into true love. If Vladek didn’t love Anja, he wouldn’t give up his job in the company to go to the sanitarium. Not only in this chapter but also in many following chapters, many difficulties they need to suffer appear. Vladek did everything to protect Anja from being kiiled by the Gestapo. What a difficult period for them. When Anja died, Vladek couldn’t forget her although he had married Mala. She married Vladek because of money, like he had done with Anja. And I think that Vladek wasn’t happy when he lived with Mala. He just married Mala to forget Anja, but he couldn’t. The past is unforgettable although he married several women. By focusing these points and connecting them, Spiegelman wanted to show how difficult that Vladek’s family had suffered and how Spiegelman’s love had grew up.
This story took place in Poland in the 1940s. This was a difficult time for people who lived in Europe, especially Jews. The past difficulties of Vladek’s family are based on the truth that 6,000,000 European Jews died in the Holocaust during 1940-1945. (2). Because the author chose that period, it makes the story more realistic. Through the amount of Jews who were dead in this period, this is the hardest time of Jews in Poland so it’s the most suitable choice of the author. Some readers who lived in that period will be moved when they read this book because it describes the same things they suffered.
It is a graphic novel because Spiegelman wanted it to contain what the characters had suffered. The author wanted to focus on what happened and a graphic novel was...