Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Maus-animals and human emotion

There is so much to talk about with Maus that it is hard to begin. I hope to cover a lot with my presentation tomorrow. I have read many books about the Holocaust, Number the Stars, The Diary of Anne Frank, Survival in Auschwitz, and I have also seen movies about the Holocaust, one of my favorites for how moving it is, Schindler's List. I was so incredibly caught off guard by how emotional this graphic novel would be. It's not that I thought it wouldn't be emotional because of the pictures, I think the drawings allowed me to experience the novel on a whole different level. The images of the mice (Jews) in pain was so heartbreaking to me. Spiegelman didn't draw much facial expression on his characters but somehow I managed to have sad feelings towards what was going on in the novel. I think this is a great feat on the author's part and a memorable experience of reading this book. Even though I was so sad that I almost cried when I was reading Maus, I like that the book brought me to feel like that because I think that's what books are supposed to do. Books are meant to arouse human emotion in in us! I also had strong feelings about the father and son relationship in the book. I felt so bad that Vladek's son wasn't appreciating spending time with his father, especially since his father was old in age and losing his health. Art really had no idea about his father's experiences in Auschwitz and it's something he will never understand. Art said that he felt guilty for not understanding what his father went through but at the same time Vladek is guilty for surviving. What an amazing statement. He survived the Holocaust, which is something right there, but to feel guilty for surviving something that took lives from so many away for the rest of your life is just so terrible. I was struck by Vladek's habit of holding onto things, like the teabag he had saved from breakfast. This habit was something he did while he was in Auschwitz. Since the prisoners didn't have much, any bit of extra bread helped. Reading Maus definitely brought a whole new perspective on to me on what Holocaust literature is. It is interesting to say that there is such a thing as a Holocaust genre, but these books are what allows us to somewhat grasp what people were feeling and experiencing during WWII and the Holocaust. We will never know the pain thousands went through, physically and mentally, but to enter into their world through reading a book about their experience allows us to share in their pain and brings us closer as a human community. This class has taught me to appreciate different cultures and people from all over the world like I haven't before. Reading books from all over the world is the perfect way to build this appreciation because reading opens worlds and so I was traveling to these worlds by reading the pages. I love using the escape metaphor with reading because I think it is so true and it happens to readers everywhere. We read to escape from our everyday lives, and even if it's just for a little, reading about someone else can be quite refreshing. After the class ends, I hope to pick up other books from the Pacific area or from around the world to continue this way of traveling. Maybe if I travel enough through reading I will be prepared enough to travel on my own someday.

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