Maus by Art Spiegelman

By Richard Elberg
Grade 10

The following article is the summary of a book
read by a student who would like to recommend
this literature to you.

Maus. Art Spiegelman.
(New York: Pantheon Books, 1986.) 159 pages.

Many people take for granted the luxuries that they have and could never imagine a life with a scant supply of food and no shelter. Most people are not confronted by a life of fear, in which if one takes a wrong step, he will not have to worry any more. In the "cartoon" book, Maus, by Art Spiegelman, Vladek Spiegelman tells his son about his astonishing survivor tale that took him to the gates of Auschwitz. To survive, Vladek had to make spur of the moment decisions that would forever decide his fate. The book tells of the chain of events leading up to the "Final Solution," and each step the Nazis made in dehumanizing the Jews. Every day was an unknown adventure for Vladek as he had to find food and a place to hide.

[ Cat and Mouse ]

The one thing that kept Vladek going in his quest for survival was his love for his wife, Anja. Just her presence inspired Vladek to seek a way in which they could survive.

This book is very original because it is a book about people and the Holocaust, portrayed in a comic book form. In the book, the Jews are depicted as mice and the Nazis as cats. In life, a mouse is prey for a cat, and as shown in the book, a Jew is prey for a Nazi. The book not only showed people trying to destroy the Jews, but it also showed the good nature of some people who risked their lives to save the Jews. Vladek would never have survived if his friends and acquaintances had not given him aid in his struggle for survival. In telling his father's story, Art Spiegelman learns about his mother's journal while developing their father-son relationship, which is very difficult at times.

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