The graphic novel Maus is a reading by Art Spiegelman that entails the intricate past events of his parents and their intriguing story of braveness, inventiveness, and good fortune. The graphic novel layout gives information on the essential meaning of both his father’s record of experiences and Spiegelman’s (1986) own outlook. As one reads the book, one features the aftermath of the Nazi terror. In the book, the Jews are illustrated as rodents, the Germans – as feline animals (the Katzies), and the Poles – as pigs. Artie is the narrator of the story, and Vladek Spiegelman is the protagonist. This essay aims to review the themes in the book, the author’s use of tone, irony as well as the setting and the impact of these stylistic devices.
Spiegelman (1986) highlights various subject matters. One of them includes racism, which is predominant in the book and has some devastating influence. In the novel, one can see that Nazis use nasty mislead information and racist procedure to diminish and then kill the Jews, who they recognize as a race less in rank. The story demonstrates how fundamental racism combined with unimaginable dismay moved many people from Poland and other European countries to deny supporting Jews or turn them into Nazis. For example, Vladek’s conduct and belief show rooted bias towards Blacks and other groups. When the narrator challenges his father for deceitfulness, Vladek only continues with the criticism, answering with amazement that his son does not concur that Jews are better than Blacks.
Spiegelman has connected with the readers by employing an appropriate tone. According to Kennedy and Gioia (2015), tone refers to the articulation of speech or writing. The sound varies as the dialogue grows between Vladek and Art, from reflective to melancholy, then to anguish. The reader sympathizes with Vladek on the decisions he has made mostly after Anja’s death. Readers also associate with Art, who, though not close to his father, tries to understand him from the interview. There is dramatic irony, when the parents hide their son Richelieu to protect him from the war only for him to die while they, who face the hardships of the Holocaust, survive.
The setting of the story is in Poland just before and after Nazi Germany attacked the county, in the concentration camps, and in the 1970s -1980s New York, USA. The different background aligned levels in Vladek, the major character’s life. In Poland, he is a welcomed business person establishing his life with Anja, his new wife. Promptly, however, disturbing gossip of anti-Semitic action in Germany starts to slither into Poland, and Vladek begins to worry about his independence and safety in Poland. Glinting the commencing of World War II, Vladek is a prisoner of the Germans and is in a camp. With time, Vladek sees his family again only to encounter growing limit, bias, and cruel treatment under Nazi life in Poland. They are transported to slum and later to centralization camps. In comparison to another locale of the graphic novel, Rego Park, New York appears very detached and even unique from the occurrence of the Holocaust. Nevertheless, here, the background provides scenery to the analysis of the enduring effects of the Holocaust, not only on connection but also on the psychological condition of those who continued living.
In conclusion, the book presents humanity as the ability to remember, to struggle for survival, to have conflicts, and sometimes to surrender. The Nazis cannot forget their negativity towards the Jews, and the Jews – how badly they treat the Nazis; Vladek cannot forget his life, and Art – his childhood or his mother. The characters employ different survival tactics during the difficult times, and this suffering brings them closer even in times of conflicts, as it is prone to human nature. The book creates a good piece for reading as it leaves the reader examining himself or herself.
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