Textual Analysis/Critique Of Maus Ii

947 words - 4 pages

No history book can compare to the personal trauma in Maus II in the way that it relays the story of the Holocaust in an emotional and authentic way. Statistics and names don't reveal the hardships that Holocaust survivors and victims had to endure and succumb to. Art Spiegelman's journey through his father's past in Maus II, forces him to realize what an incredible impact it had on the people in that generation, and what a lasting impression it will continue to have on future generations of not just Jews, but everyone.Halfway through the book Spiegelman illustrates himself dealing with the publicity Maus I has received: "At least fifteen foreign editions are coming out. I've gotten 4 serious offers to turn my book into a T.V. special or movie. (I don't wanna.)" (41) He portrays himself as a small, helpless looking man wearing a mouse mask to exploit his metaphor. One cell even shows him working atop an overwhelming pile of corpses representing all the feelings that have been stirred up inside him through writing these books, making it difficult to finish.Spiegelman's personal reflection on his work in progress lends even more authenticity to his father's story. He's not simply relaying the accounts of his father's imprisonment and leaving us to draw our own conclusions. He stops and gives us feedback as to how he has been dealing with these stories, how he's been able to compile them into 2 short books. In doing so he informs the reader of his purpose in writing the book in the first place, it is his way to deal with the guilt of both his father's internment and his mother's death.Having the voice of the author speak directly to the reader in the middle of the book draws you deeper into the story. Instead of interrupting the flow of the plot it adds urgency and purpose. Placing himself right in the middle of the comic, Spiegelman demonstrates to the reader just how close the work has gotten to him.You have to sympathize with both Art and his father throughout the book, although for different reasons. Art feels guilty about not having experienced the horror that his mother and father did; simply being a second generation survivor that can't ever fully comprehend the effects of the Holocaust because he did not live through it, "No matter what I accomplish, it doesn't seem like much compared to surviving Auschwitz" (44). Of course we sympathize with Art's father, Vladek, because he endured the impossible and then lost his wife when she committed suicide.Their personalities clash even though they both understand each other perfectly. Art knows why his father does the things he does, and Vladek understands that his son has a different perspective on...

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