Maus 1: My Father Bleeds History
Maus is a graphic novel written by the famous Art Spegielman who is an American cartoonist. The novel relatively informs about the background of the author whose father was Jewish originating from Poland who survived the World War I and World War II. The book employs vivid races techniques representing human as different kinds of animals; it shows Jews as mice, non-Jewish Poles as pigs, and Germans as cats. Maus can be described as a biography, autobiography, history, fiction work, memoir or a confluence of genres. It was the first graphic novel that won a Pulitzer Prize in 1992.
Art uses language in the most striking and creative way to work on and stylistically present political themes to the audience. The book is majorly a mirror of political themes such as the theme of war, murder, racism, and political suffering among other striking themes. Maus sarcastically presents the theme of racism in a resentful way by using animals to represent the various countries. For instance, when asked by Green to come up with a page strip to be issued to the Funny Animals, it is acknowledged that Green was the editor.
This therefore implies that Spiegelman wanted to deal with racism. This is artistically delved by considering a detailed focus on African-Americans. He takes the cats to play the role of Ku Klux Klan whereby an African-American is being chased. This is depicted as Holocaust where the strip was referred to as Maus highlighting the Nazi cats. The Nazi cats are depicted to be persecuting Jewish mice. The tale continues and is narrated to Mickey Mouse. This depicts the theme of racism. As there is enmity among the animals in normal circumstances, this artistic use of the animal characters suggests the height of racism as a theme in the work of Art Spiegelman.
The Maus group of books skillfully uses comic art and acts to communicate the painful truth. When the author talks of the sorrowful life of his father, he does not stop using the same techniques in addressing other political themes such as accusations, murder, suicides, and racism. The book depicts such themes as guilt, memories, and other emerging themes which can be observed by the eager and esteemed consumers of this work of art. In addition, the general use of language and its role in the book is also vital.
We get to realize that Arts work places some importance on language through the use of characters such as Paul Pavel, who is an immigrant and Holocaust survivor just like Arts father, and Vladek whose language is severely broken and is therefore put side by side with that of Paul. When you read the book, you enjoy the way Paul uses his art of language mastery to even win friends. On the contrary, the demanding and broken language of Vladek is also very important in understanding the Maus.
In addition, the stories Spiegelman tells in his collection of works strike and evoke a note of humor in his artistic language use and pictures shown to appoint striking nausea at the inhumane and barbaric treatment and exploitation of Jews in the Nazi Germany. This kind of humor, however, is not just meant as a laughing stock but greatly contributes to the political themes of war, conflicts, and racism. This language has very strong messages to the readers. This is evident when you pay close attention to what Art means in the long run. He describes the problems he experiences by trying to convince his father to tell him the story rather than play about his money, his health, and wife. The way he puts those problems on the same page with beatings and slavery demonstrates such a harsh contrast in the situations in life and circumstances.
The Maus group of books is, therefore, a work of art which one should try to acquire and read to enjoy the wide variety of literary elements that are presented in the most entertaining and interesting way. Besides, it covers the most sensitive political themes that are relevant to our daily life.
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