How is the Holocaust portrayed in Maus and Night, and how does the format of each text make a difference on readers' reactions?

The Holocaust is portrayed in both Maus and Night as a harrowing individual experiences, for each book focuses on a survivor's story. The novel format of Night encourages readers to imagine the scenes in their own minds, whereas the graphic novel format of Maus depicts the scenes in great visual detail.

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There are several differences between the portrayals of the Holocaust in Maus and Night. Both books are about people who survived the holocaust; Maus is even subtitled A Survivor’s Tale. However, even though both tell survivors' stories, Night is the author’s personal story, whereas Maus is that of the author’s father.

In Night, author Elie Wiesel tells of his experience in the first person as he recalls the situations that he and his father endured. Conversely, Art Spiegelman, who also appears as a character, relates what his father tells him about the Holocaust. Maus is more of a question-and-answer session, with Spiegelman asking his father questions about what happened to him.

Moreover, the formats of the two books are extremely different. In Night, the story is told as a series of recollections that the narrator, Wiesel himself, tells in his own voice. By comparison, Maus is a graphic novel. As such, it does not provide the same verbal complexity that Night does but offers a rich visual dimension. Readers can imaginatively picture many of the scenes in Night, such as the scene in which the author is beaten and prisoners are hanged and crushed while Juliek poignantly plays his violin. However, in Maus, readers do not have to imagine the scenes to the same degree: the author provides detailed depictions in the comic format.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on March 24, 2020
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