Maus Banned

“Maus” by Art Spiegelman, a book that many students enjoyed last semester in their English classes, has been banned by a school district in East Tennessee. The graphic novel shows pictures of cats and mice, while telling the true story of Vladek Spiegelman’s experiences while imprisoned in a concentration camp during World War II.  The story was written by his son, Artie, and has two books: “Book One: My Father Bleeds History” and “Book Two: And Here My Troubles Began/From Mauschwitz to the Catskills and Beyond.” McMinn County School Board voted to ban the book over “rough” language and a nude drawing of a woman, according to the meeting minutes.

Maus Banning Sparks Outrage

Ryan Higgins, a comic-bookstore owner in California, has offered up his store’s copies of the complete series of Maus. After learning of the school board decision, he tweeted his offer of as many as 100 copies to any family in McMinn County. “We always have a couple copies in stock. Those were gone within a minute of this happening,” Higgins told Yahoo News. “I never could have imagined the response.”  Following the outraged response over the banning of Maus, the McMinn County School Board issued a statement.

“The McMinn County Board of Education voted to remove the graphic novel Maus from McMinn County Schools because of its unnecessary use of profanity and nudity and its depiction of violence and suicide. Taken as a whole, the Board felt this work was simply too adult-oriented for use in our schools. We do not diminish the value of Maus as an impactful and meaningful piece of literature, nor do we dispute the importance of teaching our children the historical and moral lessons and realities of the Holocaust. To the contrary, we have asked our administrators to find other works that accomplish the same educational goals in a more age-appropriate fashion. The atrocities of the Holocaust were shameful beyond description, and we all have an obligation to ensure that younger generations learn of its horrors to ensure that such an event is never repeated.”

Maus Banned School Districts

The US Responds to Maus Banning

Maus received the Pulitzer Prize in 1992. Now the novel can be checked out in your local library or bought online. Many people who are angry over Maus being banned from the McMinn County school’s curriculum. Some speculate the McMinn County school board did not actually investigate and read the book thoroughly before removing it from the school curriculum, a move they call irresponsible. Some could argue that children in middle school are already exposed to such material from social media and their peers. Maus is a good tool to teach the holocaust. Maus is a novel which is more absorbable for students rather than novels which have been used traditionally.

The author of Maus, Artie Spiegelman, says he believes the books was banned over control. “I think it’s all about control, and control that doesn’t need to be exercised. What needs to be exercised is empathy and intelligence.” He went on to say that the attitudes of some adults involved in the matter “need rethinking more than {their} kids do.”

The current political state the world finds itself in creates an atmosphere where we need to keep younger generations, now more than ever, educated about events such as the holocaust. The Invasion of the Ukraine could cause a possible World War 3 in response, according to war experts. Many of the Russian President’s previous council have compared him to Hitler.  The outrage over banning Maus is completely understandable in today’s world. Shouldn’t we be using every tool we can to ensure students are engaged?

Written by: Erinn Malloy

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