Basically, you will be writing an essay about a comic or a reading called Maus by Art Spiegelman. There will be a file uploaded to you and it contains the instructions. Actually this file is the assignment sheet we got from the professor. The assignment is about constructing a thesis about the reading or the comic and write a two page paper to support that thesis. In the Assignment sheet, I have highlighted the most important parts.
NOTE 1: The comic is basically talking about the Holocaust. A suggested thesis for you could be about the fear experienced in the story or you could make a thesis about racism or something. Just make a thesis that is controlling the whole paper and is also arguable and has the qualities of a strong thesis.
NOTE 2: you could quote directly from the comic or the story. Just be sure to follow the MLA style of quoting.
NOTE 3: The file for reading the comic will be provided for you as well. The file might appear that it is large because it is like 20 MB. But no worries it is a short read but I just took high quality pictures when I scanned the comic, so that is why it is a large file. As I said no worries it is a very short read and you will actually like it.-If you have any questions or problems. Please let me know as soon as possible either using the messaging system or by using email. Thank you!
Date of Submission
Spiegelman, Excerpt from Maus Response Paper
Comics are creative pieces of writing that contain a message to the targeted readers. More often than not, they bring out the message in a cocky and humorous manner. Therefore, they combine both fun and lessons to be learnt in a single piece of work. This essay discusses one the oldest comics (written back in 1948) and the key concepts presented by the author. The comic, Maus was written by Art Spiegelman, son of the narrator Vladek Spiegelman. He used this piece of writing to bring to the attention of the reader the degree of racial discrimination that existed in Poland at the time of the writing. The theme of racism is clearly presented in the way Vladek and Anja Spiegelman are treated by the locals. According to Vladek Spiegelman’s narration, the first discriminative incident he and Anja experienced was in the hands of Janina. She had previously indicated that she would help them if they needed her help. However, on that night when they had no place to go, they went to Janina’s home to seek accommodation and refuge only to be turned away (Spiegelman, 1555). Janina gave them a cold shoulder and sent them away on realizing who they were. She probably did this out of fear of finding herself in the black books of her fellow citizens. The two were forced to seek an alternative.
Vladek Spiegelman saw this in the name of the janitor who plied trade in his father’s house. At the janitor’s place, they were welcomed but had to be taken into hiding. As Vladek and Anja walked to the shed where they were to spend the night, an old witch spotted them and raised alarm that there was a Jewess in the neighborhood. The janitor, however, assured them that nobody had heard her and that people would not take her seriously anyway because she was senile.
Nevertheless, the hostility that surrounded their arrival at the janitor’s place also brought into light the theme of racism. The following morning, Vladek Spiegelman left their hide out to find a safe passage out. On the way, he heard footsteps behind him. He was being followed. The man caught up with him and revealed to him that he was Jewish too, and that he and his wife had been hiding for about a year. He advised Vladek and gave him directions on where he could buy some food. When Vladek got there, there was nobody in sight and he had to call out. He found out that Hebrews had coupons with which they used to purchase food. Jews did not have these, thus posing a great challenge of finding a place to buy food (Spiegelman, 1557). Indeed, when Vladek got back to the shed with food in his hands, Anja conceded that it was a miracle. On one other incident, Vladek went to the station to take a streetcar.
He arrived at the station only to find two cars; one for Germans and another for Poles. Vladek points out that in the Polish car, the Poles could smell if a Jewish Pole was in the car. This reiterates the degree of discrimination that existed at the time. People were segregated upon; it was worse in Sosnowec if the person was of Jewish descent.
The Spiegelman’s moved in with Mrs. Motonowa who lived with her son only because most of the time her husband was in Germany, working. One day Mrs. Motonowa came back home and asked the Speigelman’s to leave for the Gestapo might come to search her house any time. During their stay at Mrs. Motonowa’ the Spiegelman’s could not make any public appearances. They were not to stand near the window for fear of being seen and identified. The Spiegelmans left only to be taken in again by Mrs Motonowa. This time round, they had to stay in the cellar because Mrs. Motonowa’s husband was coming back home (Spiegelman, 1566).
If he found the Spiegelman’s in his house, he would have chased them away together with his wife. An added twist to the story comes in where Vladek walked past playing kids who started screaming the name ‘Jew’ after him.
However, he handled it well and calmly convinced the children that he was not a Jew. The children had been told by their mothers that Jews would kidnap them and make a meal out of them (Spiegelman, 1568). This also points to the hatred and despise directed at Jews in Poland during those days. In conclusion, the theme of racial discrimination clearly comes out considering the events the subjects underwent. The Spiegelmans were constantly and continuously on the receiving end of demeaning acts due to their Jewish descent. Further, they were at risk of facing the wrath of the locals and even death had their identity been revealed.
Spiegelman, Art. Maus: a survivor's tale. Graphic novel. ed. London: Penguin Books, 2003. Print.