Synopsis: The Complete Maus is a graphic novel written and illustrated by Art Spiegelman. It tells the true story of him interviewing his father for every detail about his experience (as well as his mother’s) of the Holocaust.
This book was recently banned from a middle school in Tennessee, which was the first time I had ever heard of the book and the main reason why I chose to read the book.
The reasons given for the censorship were sexual content, nudity, suicide, and the violence of the Holocaust. In my opinion (for what it is worth: not much), this book shouldn’t be banned. As a mother, I would have been okay with a school giving this book to my middle schooler.
Sexual Content: The father tells a story about using a woman for sex before meeting his mother. This caused him a lot of trouble in many ways, including his engagement ending for a short period. I think this is great that the father could reflect on how wrong it was to use a woman for sex. It also depicts the pain and consequences of sin.
Nudity: There were no breasts or penises in this book (at least that I remember). All private parts were artistically covered when naked Jews walked to the gas chambers. There was cleavage in one image, but my kids see that at the local grocery store.
Suicide: The author’s mother committed suicide, detailed in the book. It was a hard part to read. However, during my middle school years (which was 7-9 for my school), two kids committed suicide. If kids are thinking about it at that age, then it should be discussed at that age.
Holocaust: This is a critical part of world history, and I hope kids learn about it and discuss it especially during the middle school age.
Discussion: I desire to censor certain content from my children. I had a complete failure in the past, which inspired my blog. If I can’t censor, I decided I should learn what they are reading and discuss the content with them. Given my desire to censor – I was shocked that this book was banned in a vote of 10-0. It got me thinking, “I’m a prude, and this book was fine to me. What else could it be?”
The conspiracy theorist in me concluded: Critical Race Theory. We now know that CRT is being taught in public schools nationwide. If there is an argument AGAINST CRT, it would be this book.
The author chose to depict every race by a different animal. For example, Jews are mice; Poles are pigs; Germans are cats. There are many others examples. Looking at each art frame in this graphic novel, the reader instantly knows the person’s race. Also, for every interaction a person has with someone else, the primary factor is their race. In the last years of his life, the father struggles with this. When his daughter-in-law picks up a hitchhiker of a certain race, he is furious about it, asking her if she knows what kind of things those people do.
Isn’t this precisely what CRT teaches children? CRT teaches them their most important trait is their race, and for every interaction, they have with someone else, race is the primary factor. We need to stop this theory ASAP. The long-term result of this theory in history was the Holocaust, which isn’t the only example. The Rwandan Genocide also based people solely on their ethnic group.
Religious Discussion: The second thing I contemplated or asked about the banning of this book, based on the concepts given, “Do they think middle schoolers shouldn’t read the bible?” Their reasons: sex, nudity, suicide, and violence are in the bible quite often. The bible is an essential part of the Christian life, and by the end of middle school, children should be reading a non-edited bible (versus an edited children’s bible).
The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church states (24):
Sacred Scripture gives support and vigor to the life of the Church. For the children of the Church, it is a confirmation of the faith, food for the soul, and the fount of the spiritual life. Sacred Scripture is the soul of theology and of pastoral preaching. The Psalmist says that it is “a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (119:105). The Church, therefore, exhorts all to read Sacred Scripture frequently because “ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ” (St. Jerome).”
I added bold emphasis.