What's Real, What's Not, What's Hate, What's Love

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Maus II, Spiegelman
EL237--Writing About Literature

There is a paradox that Dr. Jerz had pointed out to me in my last blog. A black hitchiker is being discrimated by Vladek, who was discrimated by the Nazis. Hate seems to be in a unbreakable cycle that everyone is a part of. Even after the war was over, Vladek talks about the story of Gelber, how he tried to return to his home and was killed not by Nazis but by Poles who lived there. We think that when a war ends and the soldiers are off the battlefield that the hatred stays there, dying a slow death in the battlefield.

But the one thing I think that I noticed about Maus II as opposed to the first book is that the need to resist and the need to survive was highlighted. Vladek recalls the foiled plot to destroy one of the creamatorium in Auschwitz. Both physically and mentally Vladek and Art himself have to resist the urge to become the things that hate them. Spiegelman had written an article called Getting in Touch with My Inner Racist, where he fights those inner demons in a way that I was personally offended, but after reading Maus, I know his approach was a little unorthodox with things.

2 Comments

Looking back at Dr. Jerz's comment in conjunction with the hitch-hiker segment of Maus II, I think I understand what he meant. You wrote about how Gelber was killed by the Poles--who were pigs just like the helpful Poles were. In the hitch-hiker segment, the black hitch-hiker is a dog just like the rest of the Americans. Maybe the point is that everyone of a certain race is the same in many ways--they may be different in personality, but they are all human.

Also, as you said about the war, I agree that people do tend to think like that. Unfortunately, though, society tends to harbor hatred behind closed doors. It's there and passed on to each member of the society, but it's kept hidden so that it seems as if it's not there. Then, every once in a while, you get tragedies like the Holocaust in which this hidden hatred comes out full force. It's sad that it can't all just go away--that we can't all truly live in loving peace.

Did anyone see Mazel last year? Jack's daughter Pearl was extremely racist towards Germans, while Jack himself had gotten over hos prejudices.

Hatred does die a slow death. For instance, look at the south. Slavery has been abolished for over 100 years, yet attitudes towards black people in that region of the country are often very negative still.