Maus Ii Book Response On Chapter 2 Graphic Novels Book Response

487 words - 2 pages

At the beginning of chapter two, Art listens to a tape of him interviewing Vladek about his days in Auschwitz, which is illustrated on the majority of the pages. Vladek explains that he was able to communicate with Anja through Mancie, a Hungarian prisoner from Birkenau, who was brought to work in Auschwitz every day. Mancie informed Vladek that Anja had become weak and frail and was not able to complete her work, which resulted in her being beaten by the kapos.
One page that stood out to me was page 54. Vladek recounts his daily routine in Auschwitz. The top two panels on the left side of the page depict prisoners marching at the gate of Auschwitz. The main focus of the first panel is an orchestra playing. There is a very thin gutter separating the top left panel, which illustrates the flashback, and the top right panel, which illustrates the present tense of the recordings. In the present tense, Art mentions that he read about the orchestra that played during the marches in Auschwitz. Even though Art mentioned the orchestra on a previous page, on this page, Vladek dismisses the idea that an orchestra played and claims that he only remembers guards shouting during the marches. As a result, he uses the same drawing to recreate the panel in the second row, however, he draws more prisoners over the orchestra. The fact that Vladek does not remember an orchestra signifies the psychological affect the Holocaust had on him.
The bottom half of the page focuses on a different aspect of the concentration camp: the guards of the concentration camps, their opinions and the way they perceived the Holocaust. The page switches to this topic when Art asks Vladek if he ever talked to the guards. In the first panel on the right side of the bottom half of the page, there is one character that is drawn as a cat, this is not the conventional way that the other concentration camp guards are depicted. I think it is possible that the guard drawn as a cat illustrates Vladek’s perception of the guards and how they acted. Vladek reflected on the time when the cat, referred to as Herr Soldat, went missing for a few days. When Herr Soldat returned he had a shocked expression on his face, which is suspected to be from working in Birkenau. Vladek was not surprised by what he heard and told him to shut up because he knew that the guard was worried that what he saw in Birkenau would happen to him. This was a tactic used by the Nazis to scare the guards and prevent them from talking to and being nice to Jews. Vladek told the guard to shut up and stopped talking to him because he did not want him to get in trouble for talking to Vladek about what was happening in the Holocaust.
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