Intro to Lit
Oct. 22 2013
To be in the Holocaust as a jewish citizen is a frightening stretch. Overcoming through all the odds that the concentration camps, Gestapo, and the war provided is a rewarding achievement for a lucky Jewish subject. Not for Vladek Spiegelman. In Artie Spiegelman’s Graphic Novel Maus, he uses pictures to describe his father’s journey through the Holocaust. Vladek loses almost everything he loves his business, home, and most of his family. This tests his character throughout the story and ultimately results him being bitter towards life after. However the Holocaust forces Vladek to rely on inanimate objects to ...view middle of the document...
The panel in the book is tilted downward compared to the other ones to enlighten how Vladek is going to respond to something harsh yet it might be the truth. He almost loses his prize wife, but he proves that he actually cares about her. After the consoling the panel below show a huge family dinner celebrating triumph of Vladek’s hard work getting his trophy wife. Vladek loves Anja and proved so by dealing with an ex girlfriends crazy antics. However his love for Anja is a mild distraction that he has a special relationship with currency and his love life is a form of it.
World War 11 makes Vladek’s unique bond with currency a valuable resource for him as a tool for survival. With the war hitting the jewish community the hardest, because of Vladek and Anja’s family wealth they are able to enjoy the luxurious life-style longer. Vladek even says “When first I came home it looked exactly so as before I went away. (Spiegelman 76)” The panel prievews outside window looking in on the family gathering together for dinner. In a huge estate as if the war did not affect them. Even though all is calm then the family knows this will not be safe for them forever. With their money running low they rely on Vladek’s love for currency to help them keep the family going.
It is the shift of currencies that Vladek is able to keep things running smoothly for he and his family. After discussing with his family that the money is running low he goes back to his business roots and hits the streets in pursuit to make some quick bucks. Upon his arrival he sees that business is the source of currency. “I went the next day to Modrzejowska street. Here people still made money, from secret businesses-not so legal....(Spiegelman 79)” Since Vladek knew people that owed him he used these businesses as his source of currency. “But I can’t pay you! A german runs my place now. I’m lucky just to have a job! “Then advance me a few yards of material without coupons. “Okay, okay. Hide this under your clothes. (Spiegelman 79)” In these panels Vladek is tactical in getting what he wants as if he has done this before. The very last panel at the bottom shows his father in law congratulating him for his success and everyone else is shaded in black to highlight Vladek as the main bread winner. Although the change of currency keeps the money flowing, it is when money does not matter anymore that the change of currency becomes a matter of life and death.
When Vladek’s journey through the war takes the most unexpected turns, his relationship with coinage keeps him alive. When he is a prisoner of war, his family provide him with supplies. The panels on page fifty six six highlight how supplies become such a valuable source of tender. When he receives his box of supplies it is almost as if there is an aura around him. Also the look on his face is of much delight with eyes closed with glee. Then the panel go back to the present narrative making the point of how...