Thursday, November 21, 2013

Maus and Final Thoughts

This reading reminded me of Krik? Krak! because the interactions between the writer and his father were similar to the interactions between the mother and her daughters in the last story of Krik? Krak! The mother had heartbreaking stories to tell about Haiti, but it was difficult for the younger daughter to understand or sympathize, because she was born after the mother had moved to the United States. The mother was frugal, especially with food, because it was how she survived back in Haiti. Similarly, in Maus, Vladek is constantly worried about managing his finances and conserving his food, because these are things that were very difficult for him to control when he was a prisoner in Auschwitz. In both cases, the interactions between the parents and their children are heartbreaking, because the children are incapable of understanding or sympathizing with their parents because they have never experienced the kind of suffering the parents did.
            From the parents’ point of view, the fact that their children will never have to suffer the way that they did is a blessing, and something to be grateful for. At the same time, it separates the parents from their children, because there will always be this tremendous pain separating them. This is where the aspect of storytelling comes in. By telling the painful stories of their past, the parents find a way to reconnect their past lives with their children’s futures. And although the stories may be painful or at the least unpleasant to hear, they are still not as painful as actually living through the horrors the parents suffered through.
            This class has completely opened up my view of the world. Before this class, I had never realized that I actually had no idea where New Zealand was located geographically, not to mention the culture of both New Zealand and also the Pacific islands in general. This also gave me a new perspective on the lasting effects of colonialism after the colonized have supposedly regained independence. Colonialism can completely scar a culture, leaving both painful and sometimes beneficial changes.

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