Comparison of Maus and Homage to Catalonia

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Through viewing the connections and similarities between Art Spiegelman’s “MAUS” and George Orwell’s “Homage to Catalonia” at the individual level, we enhance our understanding of fascism, war, and resistance. Regardless of the obvious differences in the times of these works, they both help give us readers a greater grasp on the history of these wars from real first hand accounts. From the stories of Art’s father, Vladek, and the journeys of George Orwell, we are given new light on powerful dictators, emotional instability, and the human will to survive.

Powerful dictators are the most important similarity in enhancing our understanding of the everyday lives of citizens during the times of war. For Orwell, it was Stalin, and for Spiegelman, it was Hitler. The reality of living under the total control of a dictator brings a new understanding of fascism and resistance. Both Orwell and Spiegelman face the reality of taking their life into their own hands in the face of adversity. Their everyday lives were no longer filled with hopes and dreams, but rather the thoughts of keeping their lives safe for another day. The opening quote in MAUS provides us with the greatest example of life for the Jews under the rule of Hitler. It says “The Jews are undoubtedly a race, but they are not human.” With such harsh and irrational thinking from a complete dictator, it helps us understand the terror and tradgedy that is brought by fascism and war. Life for the Spiegelman’s was unbearable due to Hitler and the Nazi party, and from his stories of struggle we can now better understand the thoughts that provoke such extreme war.

Enduring such anguish and despair in these times of war caused emotional instability in the lives of many that continued to haunt them their entire lives. Both Orwell and Spiegelman write about instances where they feel guilt or sense emotional instability during the wars. This sense of emotional guilt provides us with examples of just how traumatizing...