Saturday, August 30, 2014

Risk-Taking Researcher - Max H.

Maus by Art Spiegelman

Rotation #2 

Page 72 - 128

Job #6 - Risk Taking Researcher:

        Throughout the reading for the second week, I have been having some burning questions that I decided to research upon. For example, as I still have no knowledge about the author, I wanted to know more about him such as: Where was he born and what is so interesting about his life?

        To begin with, Art Spiegelman was born on February 15th, 1948 in a city called Stockholm which is located in Sweden. Actually, he is currently an American author and illustrator whose Holocaust narratives, in which are the two books of the Maus series, helped show that telling a story through comics can be for kids, but adults as well. Nevertheless, he changed the way readers overall would view comics, as his graphic novels contained themes that are taken very seriously nowadays. Moving on, his family immigrated to the United States in 1951. When he was a teenager, Spiegelman attended Manhattan's High School of Art and Design, and he was able to begin his career as a professional artist. From this, I can start to realize that since Art Spiegelman wrote a novel that contained some challenged or censored text, many people in the world decided that this book should not be read by the public because of the suggestive themes and about the story it tells. However, in my opinion I think that everyone should be allowed to read this graphic novel, but with at their own risk as we all can see it contains some information that needs maturity to be able to take it seriously. For example, people being killed during a war that killed many is nothing to be laughing about because of the fact it really can hurt someone if their relatives were somehow involved in this war. Now that we know a little bit more about Spiegelman, let's move on to some of the themes in this book.

Viewing something from different points of view. .

        This image, for example, may look like that the statue is shooting hoops, however that is just our imagination and how we choose to think of this image.  Similarly to the text, people were able to decide to view comic books from a different perspective because of the content Spiegelman had written and drawn

       Moving on, one of the themes that I think mostly stood out was the theme ''power". As the story is placed and dated back in the years of around 1930-1940, there are many complications and fights about who had the most power and what that power was able to do to people. In this case, around that time there was a man named Hitler who was able to take over power and control most of Europe during World War II. Just as the story explains, during the year 1939, the Germans were able to conquer Poland, or in other words take over Poland. During that time, however, the persecution grew even more terrifying (persecution is to believe that a certain race or religion should be exterminated, in the case the Nazis wanted the Jews out). For instance, the Polish Jews were all gathered and forced to be living in ghettos. To put this another way, they were obligated to live in cheap homes where disease and starvation together were a high level and constant threat. Later on in 1941, which is the time period the book still hasn't reached, the term 'Death Camp Operations' had begun. In which, over a total of -unfortunately- 400,000 Jews were killed.

The short moment when something is alive, and then a second later it is dead...

      In my opinion, I think this image can be helpful to show that during the Holocaust, there was not much the Jews could do because if they made the wrong decision, the next thing they knew they would be dead instead of being alive. The thought I have about this is that there is not much time to think about life until you are almost dead. For instance, when the Jew who gave away Vladek's location, was eventually shot and still had his eyes open trying to survive. This serves as an example because after he was shot, he was most likely lamenting about how short his life was, until minutes after, he had to face death.

        Overall, I think we can all stop to think and reflect that with the mass murders of World War II being written and drawn in a comic book style has been transforming many peoples' point of view on how they would see a comic book. To conclude, though there are many challenged and censored scenes in this book, it has definitely made me think, question, and research about this time period that the book has been set to.


Ray, Michael. "Art Spiegelman." Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 11
        Oct. 2013. Web. 29 Aug. 2014. 


"Genocide." History. AETN UK, 2014. Web. 30 Aug. 2014.


  1. Great research Max. Today I wanted to talk a little about your first image i which you tell the reader about how we people choose to think what we want depending in our imagination. When you talk about interpretation I think of the history of our world. The Cross of Jesus Christ is the focal point of all human history and is that which gives meaning to man's existence. Looking back through the events of time gives the informed observer insight into the all-important questions, such as the origin and gradual developments of any race, nation or people. This is an example of interpretation, the christian history was build throughout history and upon many people beliefs. What hits me is that all we live and learn can all be wrong since it was invested and delt by a man or women in his or her aspect of what happened. Yet, this can be different to many of us since we all have different opinions.

  2. I think your research was very interesting. I didn't really think about it before, but now that you mention it, I do wonder about the author’s life. Now I feel like I know some things and I am now interested in knowing more. I didn't know that he changed the way people looked at comics and graphic novels. I think that was a very interesting fact and I think you explained it well. This part of your post got me thinking, why is the author’s name Art? Or, why did he move in 1951? I think the theme really does stand out. I like your picture that goes with it too.

    1. I also had these questions in mind and learned quite a bit from researching some things about the author as well. Actually, the questions that you were wondering were also pretty interesting and I felt like it would be great to research a little bit more about him. First of all, as I have seen, Art isn't really his real name, the author was actually born with a different name which was: Itzhak Avraham ben Zeev. When him and his parents immigrated to the US in 1951, the author's name was registered as Arthur Isadore, which he later on changed it to Art. Unfortunately to hear, Art had a brother who died four years before he was born and his name was Rysio, but in the book Maus, it is spelled ''Richieu'' because Art thinks it is a name in which is easier for Americans to pronounce. Although his family searched all over Europe in orphanages and other places, they couldn't find Art's long lost brother. Honestly, I wasn't able to find why his parents moved to the US, but I can infer and assume, however, that they most likely moved away from Europe because of the current situation at that time because of war. Not only that, but the job opportunities in the Americas were probably much better in their point of view. Thanks for wondering more about this!