“It makes everything more real—more human.”

I felt that Maus was a very intimate and personal read. Blunt honesty permeated every aspect of the novel, from Spiegelman’s contrasting portrayal of the past/present state of his aging father to his own self-realization of the nature of his relationship between his parents and himself. This intimacy and honesty became the most attractive part of the novel to me. I was there, in the room with Spiegelman and his father as Vladek recounted the horrors of the holocaust; I was there when Spiegelman got the call about his father’s hospitalization, and when Vladek and Anja found out their first-born, Riechieu, had passed. The immersion was immense, and it drew me into the story and helped me form a connection with the characters from the start, despite their anthropomorphic representations.
I can’t say there was anything I didn’t enjoy about the novel. There wasn’t a single part that felt forced. The flow of the story was smooth and easy to follow, and Vladek’s recollection of the things he endured during the holocaust were even more interesting than fiction. Switching between Spiegelman’s personal life and Vladek’s flashbacks did, as Spiegelman said near the beginning of the novel in conversation with Vladek, “…makes everything more real—more human.” The author enjoyed utilizing irony, and periodically injected small bits of irony into the narrative for comical effect. A prime example is the conversation between Spiegelman and his wife, Francoise, in the beginning of part II, where he acknowledges that he is a comic book character. The previously mentioned quote is another example of the author’s use of irony; making things feel more human knowing that all of the characters in the story were animal representations.
Something else I really enjoyed in the novel was “Prisoner on Hell Planet”. I felt its inclusion in the piece tremendously aided the level of immersion. It gave the reader a chance to see inside Spiegelman’s head, and really fleshed out his feelings about his parents. This creates a new perception of why the speaker and other characters in the novel act and react the way they do to certain events. In the case of “Prisoner on Hell Planet”, it served to help me both sympathize and pity the author. I came to sympathize with his upset, and at the same time pity him for his bitterness and confusion regarding the whole situation. The death of a loved one is never easy to deal with, and “Prisoner on Hell Planet” is aptly named and illustrated to represent this fact. Maus, all in all, was a great read, and I’m glad to have had to opportunity to read it.

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