How does Spiegelman's choice of medium, the cartoon form, lead to a deeper individualized understanding of the life altering effects of death in Maus?
How does the author use this medium to show the impact of death?
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In my all time favorite book about the Holocaust, Art Spiegelman, a cartoonist, created a graphic novel dealing with his father's experiences during the Holocaust. The cartoon form created pictures in the reader's mind about the horror of Vladek's personal experiences. The use of animals to depict the people drives home the point that the Germans, portrayed as cats, really did hunt the Jews, portrayed as mice, toyed with them as a cat does a mouse, tortured them as a cat does, and finally kills them as the cat does to the mouse. You can see the reluctance in Art as the artist to depict the painful realities, of the hiding, the fear, the sudden changes Vladek and Anja must confront . Art begins to understand why his mother committed suicide even though she survived Auschwitz. He can see that his father is still living with the effects of his wife's death and the fear that both of them lived with each day. Art now can see why his father is so tight with money, why he doesn't take any pleasure in his remarriage to Mala, a survivor herself. The deaths are still present for Vladek, still affecting his life, and the cartoons only make it clearer for us to see. This Pulitzer Prize winning book should be required reading in any class about the Holocaust.
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