128 maus – survivors of the right lane

maus isn’t just a simple read but a comic that is heavily coated with nostalgia and lost love. art spiegelman chooses to begin to trace his father’s history even before the war began with the reader. throughout the text it goes back and forth to art’s writing process and interview with his father, exploring the dynamics of vladek’s relationship with the people around him. and in maus ii it becomes more self-reflexive, deciding on whether or not to include certain parts and how he should continue his story. that’s when i feel that the darkness of his father’s story begins to cloud his vision and the cynicism creeps up to him.

one thing is for sure, what i read was a survivor’s tale alright. vladek’s character and who he is presently, is shaped not only from his upbringing but the circumstances he lived through. from emptied stomachs to multiple panic attacks shapes a grumpy and angsty old man. but the tender man is found deep within his heart when he speaks of anja – i suppose that is where the introduction that art establish is so important. how they met and fell in love so deeply.

what i find interesting is that the nazis would always split Jews into two lines. and the left would be the line to death and the right would be the line for a second chance. but never guaranteeing a fate of hope. you may be in the right lane this time round, but the next time you may end up in the left. when vladek’s father went from the right lane to the left because he was worried for his daughter – that left a scratch on my heart. would you rather live knowing where your loved on went; or go along and leave the world together, in one another’s arms?

“look at how many books have already been written about the Holocaust. what’s the point? people haven’t changed… maybe they need a newer, bigger Holocaust” – maus ii, 45

the weight of these two books is pretty hard to bear. vladek and anja met with freedom again… but their toil with the nazis will remain as scars. the extent that vladek went just so they could meet one another in the concentration camp was hair-standing, he would risk anything to see his lover again. wow. it ended as the way they started, reunited. it warmed my heart that they managed to find one another again despite the amount of chaos they went through.

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