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Survival Of The Self Sufficient Essay

986 words - 4 pages

When the Holocaust is featured in literature, survival, interpersonal interactions, and resourcefulness of main characters is often shown. In Maus I and Maus II, Art Spiegelman utilizes the graphic novel format to tell the story of Vladek Spiegelman’s application of bilingual, bartering, and salesmanship skills to survive the tragic lifestyle of camps in the Holocaust. In contrast, in the memoir, Night, by Elie Wiesel, Elie portrays his family’s manipulation of lack of faith, prior knowledge of basic first aide, and sale of Elie’s golden-crowned tooth to persevere through the suffering faced during the Holocaust. At the same time, Spiegelman’s stories Maus I and Maus II and Wiesel’s novel Night show the importance of interpersonal interactions and the struggle to survive through the eyes of Jews living during the Holocaust, the differences in how they employ their resources and how they remain alive cause an obvious divergence between the novels.
Throughout Maus I, Maus II, and Night, the characters find human assets to persevere, which helps to keep Vladek, Anja, Chlomo, and Elie alive. In Maus I and Maus II, a family member and fellow Jew, Miloch, helps Vladek by showing him a hiding spot behind a pile of shoes. Vladek and Anja stay out of the camps so long because of this hide-out. Correspondingly, Vladek and Anja meet an old lady in the black market who lets them buy food and supplies without coupons. “‘Wanna buy some food without coupons, mister?’... She showed to me sausages, eggs, cheese...things I only was able to dream about.” (Maus I 138) Likewise, in Night, Chlomo has resources within his community to arrange something with a Hungarian police officer. “Before we went into the ghetto, he had said to us: ‘Don’t worry. If you’re in danger, I’ll warn you.’ If he could have spoken to use that evening, we could perhaps have fled.” (Night 12) Similarly, when they are in the camps, a random prisoner comes by and asks them their ages. When they respond, he tells them to lie about their ages. Lying helps to keep them out of the crematories. In the same manner, Vladek, Anja, Chlomo, and Elie all survive because of helpful individuals they encountered. However, these experiences also led to a stronger father-son relationship between Vladek and Art and Chlomo and Elie. Chlomo and Elie’s bond grew stronger in the camps, while on the other hand, Vladek and Art’s bond strengthened after the war as Art learned more about what his father underwent.
In both Maus and Night, the characters want more than anything to survive the war for their loved ones, but their tactics for escaping the gas chambers and the furnaces differ. In Maus, Vladek and Anja hide from the Nazis and avoid the extermination camps as long as possible. “To go, it was no good, but not to go - it was also...

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