In a break-through way, he tells this story in the form of a graphic novel. I was amazed not just with how approachable this made the horrible story of the Holocaust, but also with how appropriate it was. The story of the Holocaust is not an easy story to tell. By telling his father’s story from the perspective of a son watching his father and via a graphic medium, Spiegelman captured the effects of the events on his father. As a reader, I could see the aftermath of the story because Spiegelman had captured the emotions in the illustrations. The Complete Maus is an essential story in the body of work about the Holocaust and rightly deserves the special Pulitzer Prize awarded it in 1992. It is a book anyone, even those who don’t consider themselves readers, can approach to learn about the Holocaust.
Maus I: My Father Bleeds History
What struck me most about the Jews in Poland in 1938-1944, particularly Vladek and Anja, was that the only reason they survived thus far was because they were lying, stealing, and cheating, besides the fact that they still had some money to pay people for help. Vladek put himself and his wife before everything: that was the way to survive. It was shocking to realize how little mercy others had for them. While some were willing to risk their lives to help the Jews, it was shocking how little chance the Jews had to live. The Nazis, in general, showed no mercy.
Maus II: And Here My Troubles Began
The Complete Maus: A Survivor’s Tale
What stood out to me in these two volumes of history is that the graphic novel format is a griping way to tell a story. It showed me, again, that this is medium that needs to be embraced.
Spiegelman does not want his graphic novel turned in to a movie. I would agree: a movie of this story would be too harsh and too insensitive. A wordy memoir also would be too “heavy”: I love to read, but I couldn’t read a memoir like this because it would be too much, too depressing, and too detailed. But a graphic novel medium is perfect. In Maus, we learn about the Holocaust but we also learn about the effect of the Holocaust on subsequent generations. And it is very readable: for the legions of people in the world that don’t “like” to read, this is something that they could easily approach, painful as the story may be. That said, I was greatly disturbed the story (as should be expected) and I wouldn’t recommend this for children.
The Holocaust happened: the world needs to know story. Maus is an excellent approach to it.
I read Maus I and Maus II at the same time, in one volume called The Complete Maus. They were originally published in 1986 and 1991. I cannot comprehend separating these two stories; they seemed to be one. Did you read these at different times? How did that affect your reading of the story? Did you feel something was missing after the first one?