Son Of Saul And Maus Analysis

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The absolute horror of the Holocaust has made it difficult and sometimes controversial to depict it in various forms of media. Two such works of art, Son of Saul and Maus, take very unique approaches to trying to capture the experiences of the Holocaust. Both works share key themes such as the importance of family in maintaining hope and the perpetrator conflict with Jews and Poles. Of course, the two works aren’t exactly the same and there are some major thematic differences. Perhaps the most striking difference is the difference in the identity politics narrative that can be seen in both works. To begin with the major comparisons between both works, one should probably start at the key plot elements that drives Son of Saul and Maus: the …show more content…
In the book The Crime and the Silence, Bikont explains that the memory of the Holocaust and other mass crimes are very murky as some people participated in the slaughters either willingly or by force. This has created a weird dichotomy with history of wanting to show the victimization but also not wanting to reveal their complicity in such crimes. As a result of Nazi force, may Jews and Poles were forced to help execute other Jews and Poles. This can clearly be seen in Son of Saul whose whole storyline revolves around the Sonderkommandos in Auschwitz. The Sonderkommandos were Jewish and Polish prisoners that were forced help carry out the gassing of other Jews. This was extremely difficult to accept and drained the humanity out of people. It created a divide in the memories of those that survived as a crisis of identity in which they sometimes could not live with themselves or it scarred them …show more content…
One striking difference is the obvious identity politics that pervades Maus. In Maus, everyone is divided into their identity. Jews are mice, Nazis are cats, Poles are pigs, French are frogs, and Americans are dogs. It doesn’t matter who you actually are. You are labeled by your identity. The Polish priest that Vladek meets is portrayed the same as the Pole that wanted to learn English. It is a highly cartoonish way of depicting the actual horrors of identity politics that led up to the Holocaust and that actually happened in the camps such as the star of David branding. It was also a highly visualistic way of depicting what Peter Novick describes in The Holocaust in American Life as the “victimization olympics”. In Maus, Jews are more victimized than Poles who are more victimized than the other groups. While the narrative doesn’t delve too far deep into this theme, the symbolism is there on face

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