The Horror of Holocaust: the Theme Best Expressed by Both Wiesel and Spiegelman

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Starting from January 30, 1933 to May 8, 1945, around 17 million people were killed in Germany in what is known as the Holocaust. At that time, Adolf Hitler’s, Nazi Germany aimed to remove people who were not of German descent from Germany and especially those who were Jewish. Maus by Art Spiegelman and Night by Elie Wiesel are two highly praised Holocaust books that illustrate the horrors of the Holocaust. Night is a traditional narrative that mainly focuses on Elie’s experiences throughout the holocaust while Maus is a comic book that is directed to the relationship between Art and his father with the generational trauma Art goes through, as well as his father’s experiences during the Holocaust. The similarities and differences between Maus and Night closely examine what life was like for Holocaust victims. Maus and Night are both about the Holocaust and have several similarities, but of course, they feature different events and the authors have different means of writing their books. 

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This paper will be analyzing the similarities and differences between the approaches, point of views, tones, symbols and characters of the literary works throughout the two novels. The two books despite their differences have many themes and events that are similar, a powerful hanging scene depicted in both the novels, reflects on the theme of the horror of the Holocaust, inhumanity and sorrow. However, because Night is a literary novel and Maus is a graphic novel, both have different measures of telling this event and so Night has more power to convey the horrors of the hanging scene. This is proven in the Maus, when Vladek stated, ‘They’ve taken four Jews away from dealing goods without coupons…(pg-85, 2nd panel) The next day I walked over to Modrezejowska Street and I saw them…(same page, 3rd panel) They hanged there one full week’ (same page, 4th panel). The seriousness of the Jews being hanged is lightened by Art’s ability and henceforth switched the focus of the story back to his father. Although Vladek is being serious when he says even his dead eye is tearing up (on page 86, 2nd panel), this statement lacks the seriousness. On the other hand, the literary novel, Night depicts the hanging scene to be the horrible truth. However, the ‘young pipel’s hanging was a scene that no one had ever seen before, it was the first time that a child was being hung. When Wiesel saw him die, he felt sorrowful and stricken with grief.

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