The book I choose to read for this semester was Maus 2 by Art Spiegelman. The book is about Art talking to his father about his experiences in the holocaust as a Jew. His father is a little distracted at times and it’s clear it is getting harder for him to take care of himself. The stories he tells of his experience are terrifying, sparing no detail in the pure brutality of the Jew’s life in one of Hitler’s death camps. In his father’s case, he mostly spent his time getting by as a shoemaker for a long time, he didn’t have to do the forced labor that most Jews were subjugated to. He kept trying to find ways to get little pieces of bread or messages to his wife to let her know he was okay and that she should keep fighting.
The unique thing about how this book is written is the Jews are drawn as mice and the Nazis are cats. This works to convey the idea of how the Nazi’s saw the Jews, as rodents, as well as play the dynamic that the cat is chasing the mice, just like how the Nazi’s pursued the Jews.
There was a moment in the story that really stood out to me when Art’s father was trapped in a train car filled to the brim with fellow mice. They are stuck there for what seems like weeks and people die trapped in that train car, it really is a horrific scene and Art draws is with these very dark and layered shadows of the what seems like hundreds of people stuck in there. A concept of Scott McCloud’s book in chapter six that I think this moment encapsulates well is additive, where the scene’s words elaborate on an already well drawn out scene. The reader can tell what’s happening in the scene without the words, the mice are trapped in a train car and things are going horribly, but when Art adds the narration and some of the dialogue of the mice, it both elaborates on the specific troubles and amplifies how the reader perceives their suffering.