English 101, sec DE
July 26, 2013
Essay 1 - Image Analysis on Maus
Some said they were too powerful, some said they were too different. Words like ‘inferior’, ‘outsiders’, and ‘scapegoat’ were their labels. Those not afraid of them would ask: Did you actually cause the Black Plague? What about the spread of AIDS in Europe? Did you kill Jesus Christ? Regardless of how peacefully they walked down the street, people would cross to the opposite side. Ever since the first recordings of Judaism in 1400 BCE, the Jewish people have been persecuted as a religion, and even as a race, but the largest case of this discrimination was certainly the Holocaust. In the case of the Holocaust, or World War II, which took place in the 1930’s and 40’s, the Jewish people were being blamed for causing the first Great War, or World War I. During this time, it seemed like all fingers pointed to the Jews; they had no where to turn but to other Jews. The average person closed their door when a Jew knocked. Not only hatred, but fear of association caused the public to turn their backs on this constantly bullied group of people. With the masses on standby, the President of Germany at the time, Adolf Hitler, led the Nazi Party to kill an estimated 6 million Jewish men, women, and children. “The sad and horrible conclusion is that no one cared that Jews were being murdered... This is the Jewish lesson of the Holocaust…” quotes former Prime Minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon. The only people who stood up for the Jews were their fellow Jews. The Holocaust was undoubtedly the largest slaughter of Jewish people in history, but the question is, if they had no one to help them, how did any Jews get out alive? Well, as few as “195,000 survivors and family members” lived through the Holocaust, according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (“Frequently Asked Questions.”). Only a portion of these survivors were Jewish, and out of those Jews, very few shared their stories with the public. Vladek Spiegelman was one of those few. In the book series “Maus”, acclaimed comic artist and writer Art Spiegelman, puts his father’s words into black and white illustrations mixed with a heart wrenching story of the what the Holocaust was like. In the story, Art Spiegelman displays many topics through his pictures, one of the most powerful concepts portrayed is that the Jews needed help from each other to survive the Holocaust. This concept is clearly portrayed through a series of images depicting the desperation, resistance, and perseverance experienced by the Jews in the Holocaust. When the Jews needed help from each other in “Maus”, they were often very desperate. Art Spiegelman added this unique tone to the series through his illustrations of Jews helping each other. For example, on page 140 of “Maus: My Father Bleeds History”, or simply “Maus I”, Anja and Vladek are hiding in a barn one night. All of a sudden, Vladek gets up and decides to journey to “Dekerta” to get food and supplies. During the Holocaust, Jews who were on the run or were hiding illegally would journey to Black Markets such as “Dekerta” because they would be discovered and turned in if they shopped anywhere else. After so much running and hiding, Anja became weary and she did not want to separate from Vladek again. In the top right frame of this page, Anja’s fear of loneliness made her desperate. The illustration shows Anja drawn in bold lines, reaching up from the bottom of the frame and surrounded by a background of black, jagged lines. She says to Vladek, “Don’t leave me alone again! I’m terrified when you’re gone.” The artist uses what Scott McCloud, author of “Understanding Comics”, calls “expressionism”. This is the idea that the inner turmoil of the character can be shown through somewhat abstract pictures, especially in the background of the frame. In this case, the picture shows Anja’s sadness and desperation. Overall, the picture conveys Anja’s...
Cited: "Frequently Asked Questions." United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. United States Holocaust Memorial Council, n.d. Web. 5 Aug. 2014. .
Spiegelman, Art. Maus: a survivor 's tale. New York: Pantheon Books, 19861991. Print.
Spiegelman, Art. Maus II: a survivor 's tale : and here my troubles began. New York: Pantheon Books, 1991. Print.
"Vince Lombardi quote." BrainyQuote. Xplore, n.d. Web. 6 Aug. 2014. .
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