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Comparing Maus and Night

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“For god’s sake, where is god”-“where he is? This is where hanging here from this gallows…” that was the truth, austerely (plainly) handed down to every Jew and prisoner who was detained and imprisoned in Auschwitz, whether in Night or Maus the notion was the same. The Holocaust was a traumatic event that most people can’t even wrap their minds around. Libraries are filled with books about the Holocaust because people are both fascinated and horrified to learn the details of what survivors went through.

Maus by Art Spiegleman and Night by Ellie Wiesel are two highly praised Holocaust books that illustrate the horrors of the Holocaust. The two books despite their differences have many themes and events that are similar a powerful hanging scene depicted by both of them shows a horror few have seen, However because Night is a literary novel and Maus is a graphic novel both have different measures of telling an event, and so Night has more power to convey the horrors of a hanging.

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Maus a graphic novel written by Art Spiegleman depicts a scene of a hanging on page 85 with 4 mice hanging in a panel and a German soldier on the bottom, the four Jews were hanged for getting caught dealing in the black-market without a coupon to do so. The Nazi then made an example of them by having them hanged for a full week.

The hanging scene is and powerful, it is simple and portrays a hanging of 4 mice, people whom Vladek the main character knows, As this is being read, the combination of the humanistic appearance with the symbolism actually enrages one, It was upsetting as how senseless the German actions were. Perhaps the best example of the masking effect occurs in the final three frames on page 83. The middle frame is a hanging scene, depicting four mice hanging from nooses. While this in itself is disturbing, the subsequent frames humanize this even more. We see nothing but four pairs of legs dangling, as everything above the knee is cut off by the gutter. These legs are very human. Although we know it is supposed to be the legs of the mice, the lack of specificity simplifies the image to the point where we interpret it as human legs. However the scene just depicts a humble version of what truly occurs to Jews, the author himself says that the ENTIRE novel was nothing compared to what truly occurred.

This scene however is diluted it does not give the reader enough visual other than the art in the book, the scene one scene and does not go into enough detail to show how shocking and horrifying the fact that 4 people were hanged and put as an example for everyone to see for an entire week, the author however focuses on the fact that the main character did not care much for the victims, he just cared about whether he was going to be caught in the future or not, he himself says “I was frightened to go outside for a few days… I didn’t want to pass where they were hanging. And maybe one of them could have talked of me to the Germans to try to save himself”. Night a literary novel depicts the scene of a hanging in the form of the horrible truth, Wiesel stated that he found “the soup excellent one evening” after witnessing some hangings of adult prisoners. He did not care that they were hung, they were adults, they committed a crime and paid for it, other prisoners also had the same idea a person during a hanging just say “when can we eat, I’m hungry”. However the pippel the young being hanged was a scene that no one had ever seen before it was the first time that a child was being hanged, It’s a heinous sight as it is to see a young child killed before a person’s eyes. When Wiesel saw him die, he felt sorrowful and stricken with grief. How can a child commit a crime and be punished severely? Wiesel himself admits that the horror he saw was one he found particularly hideous “To hang a young boy in front of thousands of spectators was no light matter. The head of the camp read the verdict. All eyes were on the child. He was lividly pale, almost calm, biting his lips. The gallows threw its shadow over him”.

Through the evidence shown it is obvious that the two books are completely different in showing the effects and happenings of the Holocaust, in Maus the story is about a biography of a different persona that other than the author therefore the account is not as well recounted, where as in night the entire story was the reminiscence and retention of the author himself therefore giving us a more clear and detailed description. The two different scenarios of the hanging also take place in different places and time with also different characters, the hanging scene in Night takes place in Auschwitz when the situations and consequences in Auschwitz things have gotten a lot worse than they were in pre-holocaust status this is shown by the scenes where some characters don’t seem to care when another person dies or that a person who is being hanged did not care not a single tear was shed. this is quite horrifying to know that someone was so demoralized so dehumanized that he or she did not have feeling anymore.

In addition the character who is being hanged is a mere child the author uses a metaphors a lot to show who the child is and of what importance he has this gives the reader a better understanding of what the child meant the author uses an example when Wiesel calls the pippel “a sad-eyed angel” this is a lot more traumatizing than seeing a grown man hanged he also says “He remained for more than half an hour, lingering between life and death” those words can really tell the reader how something happened Wiesel uses Imagery a lot to help the reader understand a scene making something as horrifying and important as it should be the emotive language truly helps and the author uses his diction to gain the attention of his reader. In Maus the scene portrayed is very tormenting it is still not as bad as what happens in Night. The two different books have very obvious techniques one is a graphic novel and another is a literary novel, Maus being a graphic novel dilutes the stories of the holocaust since many scenes are squeezed into one single panel, while each scene could be taken into more depth. Night does exactly what Maus has failed to do which is seriously explain a scene in great detail, the use of animals to represent characters in Maus also takes away from the truth the story might have been more serious and alarming had the author used humans instead of animal to represent different ethnicities.

Despite the differences in style, in section, between Maus and Night both scenes have one thing in common, and that has to do with the intention of the Nazi who have caused the hangings used the hangings as an example to all to show and demonstrate their power this is shown in one of the panels of Maus where a German soldier is standing next to the Jews who have been hung as a show of power and authority. In both novels the main characters know who the victims are and both characters are traumatized and tormented through both scenes. Spiegleman also tries to uses his own techniques to make something serious for example when Mr. Zylenberg says in his speech bubble “The Germans intend to make an EXAMPLE of them!” By changing the size of the font of the word “Example” the author uses emphasis to emphasize and stress on the word giving it more stress to make it stand out. It is evident through the and in conclusion that Night has taken the topic more seriously and given us the truth with more power than Maus could whether it be through literary devices or just because of the time when the event takes place. However both author use techniques and literary devices to add and Importance and stronger message to an idea and even though Night does a better job on this both novels are different and similar in their own ways, bringing the horrors and reminisce of the holocaust in two different ways whether it be in a biography, an auto biography, a literary novel, or a graphic novel both have exceled in their theme.

Cite this Comparing Maus and Night

Comparing Maus and Night. (2016, Jul 21). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/comparing-maus-and-night/

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