A Story Told and Shown

I grew up reading comic books, and I have even read a few graphic novels. Though unlike Maus by Art Spiegelman, the comics and graphic novels I have read before were pure fiction. This made me a little skeptical of the ability of a graphic novel to convey a story with non-fiction  elements about the holocaust. However, once I started reading Maus, this skepticism completely went away.

I quickly found myself enjoying every moment of the story, and the way that Spiegelman wrote the dialogue for his father telling the story was by far my favorite aspect of the novel. While to some it may seem like the parts where Spiegelman’s father  are horribly written, I felt like these parts really added a voice to the story. Every time I would read lines like “By October 1937, the factory was going, and it was born my first son,”(p30) I constantly found myself reading it with an accent. Whether that accent is accurate or not I felt didn’t matter, but I imagine that it was intended to give that effect. This made it seem so real even though the characters were drawn as animals. I also felt myself comparing the way the story was told with The Princess Bride(the movie not the book because I never read the book). One of the easiest ways you could see how the two compare is when Art interrupts his father’s story on page 45. like Fred Savage does to his grandfather in The Princess Bride. Obviously there are major differences between the two, but I really enjoyed how this made the story seem like something actually being told.

The only thing that I did not really like were the parts of the novel that seemed a bit esoteric. Usually when reading a comic, I do not want to have to look up things that I do not know other than certain words.  However, these parts were few and far between, and they did not take away anything from the novel.


3 thoughts on “A Story Told and Shown

  1. Nice post! I’m also enjoying Maus a lot and I’m learning to appreciate comics way more than I did in the past. I agree with you and I also believe the way Spiegelman wrote the dialogue using broken English was one of the highlights of the book. Like you said, “I felt like these parts really added a voice to the story.” When I first saw these lines with broken English, I didn’t make the connection with Spiegelman representing his father’s voice right away. However, it didn’t bother me because the story was so interesting that I didn’t care much about it. But now that I understand the reason behind it, I can see how it affects the story by making it even more real, original, and substantial. Spiegelman is telling us his father’s story and who could tell it better than Vladek himself? By using his father’s exact words, Spiegelman stays true to his father’s legacy and identity. Because of that, this is also one of my favorite aspects of this novel.

  2. The broken english Spiegelmen uses is by the far the most entertaining thing about this book; although the graphics are nice to. This book to me wasn’t just a comic or just a book filled with images. It was the struggle of Vladek coming to life. Using the broken english for me made this more real than I could imagine. Through out the book I learned things about the holocaust that I had not even thought to think about.

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