Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Effect of Style on Maus II

While it is an obvious observation, the style of Maus II, being a graphic novel, is vastly different than anything we have read thus far, which made it incredibly interesting, especially compared with the other works we have read. First of all, as it relates to travel, what grabbed my attention immediately was the feeling of travel through the different panels. At times, it can be a bit disorienting as there is so much on the page and the speech bubbles in particular are at times a bit confusing to follow. That being said, with the comics it is easy to be transported into this world as it is so visual. The only other work I can think of that did this in a similar way was Calvino's Invisible Cities. Calvino in a sense painted pictures of the cities with his words and the short little vignettes are somewhat comparable to the panels in Maus II in that there is a similar kind of flow to the reading. In both cases I felt as though I was traveling through the book to another place in a visual way.

The other aspect of the novel that really struck me, was the use of animals in the novel to represent that characters. It is interesting that he chose to depict such a serious period of history in this way, as it could possibly construed as being offensive or misinterpreted some other way. What is even more interesting, however, is that it actually does not seem to take away from the gravity of the Holocaust. The characters, though not life life, speak in a very relatable manner, as often it is conversational and Spiegleman tries, and I think succeeds in recreating real speech, complete with interjections and stutters, etc.

As I reflect on the semester and the works we have read, as well as all of our class discussions, the most surprising and interesting thing I have learned is that travel and self discovery go hand in hand. And in addition to that, travel does not always have to mean physical travel, though this is also important. Travel is a part of our every day life, even if we do not know it, and experiences big and small shape us.

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