Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Picture, No Words

   "A picture is worth a thousand words." We have all heard this saying numerous times through-out ours lives but it was until recently that I actually understood this meaning. Pictures allow us as viewers and as readers to understand an aspect of a story that may have been lost in words. In pictures and photographs we have the opportunity to travel with the author in a different way; we physically get to see what they see or imagined.
    Recently, through multiple facebook posts and status, I discovered an amazing story. A photographer documented his wife's fight with cancer through photographs. Him and his wife both believed that those around them could not begin to understand the horror and pain the two of them were going through. This man controlled the images of his wife that the viewers could see but instead of just showing the happy and positive times, he opened us to a world full of pain and tears. Those who have never experienced cancer or had a love one go through cancer could finally see and feel everything that this couple went through. These pictures spoke loud and strongly went words and sentences never could. If you would all like to see the pictures, you can at this website
    Art Spiegelman could have just wrote down his father's story with no pictures and with no imagery of cats and mice. Instead, he choose to take us on this journey through how he imagined his father's struggles during the Holocaust. Most of us are familiar with the relationship between cats and mice; the cats chase while the mice run. In this case, it can be seen how the cats are the Nazis and the mice are the Jews; the cats want to capture the mice and in this case, the Nazis captured the Jews. But there is another way to view the images Spiefelman gave us. The most famous example of a cat and mouse chase is the show Tom and Jerry. In this classic cartoon, Tom, the cat, chases the mouse Jerry but does Tom ever succeed? The answer is no; Jerry is too clever for Tom to be caught. In this interpretation of this relationship, it can be said that Spiegelman used cats and mice to show the cleverness of his father. His father constantly found his ways out of certain situations, such as lying about how much experience he had with certain skills and hoarding his cigarettes to bribe an soldier to bring his wife over. Spiegelman utilized images instead of just words to prove a point; yes cats chase mice but mice can easily outsmart cats. We may have not received this idea if Maus was not a graphic novel.
    The last thing I would like to mention is the final picture we are left in Maus: his father's grave. Grief, as stated in my post about Krik Krak, is a powerful emotion than can take us from the past to the future. By leaving his readers with an image of his father's grave, Spiegelman is showing us that this is his father's story and it will continue to live on and inspire after he is gone. Furthermore, at the end of the photographer's story that I mentioned early we are left with the following picture. The emotions here are still the same. His wife and her story have inspired him and others to fight cancer. A grave can be a powerful imagined and that is why I think both stories choose images instead of words to depict their stories.

cancer battle

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