Art and Empathy

1536 Words7 Pages
Kenny Smith
April 20th, 2003

The role of men in society has been a vital. Men were subjected to the same inhumane and horrifying events that happened during the Holocaust. When one thinks of a man, you think of father, solider and other manly things. A great deal of pride comes along with being and man. Along with pride, testosterone, intensity, and all sorts of other factors key into the characteristics of men. However, the Holocaust completely stripped men of most of these characteristics. The Holocaust did not allow men to be men. Holocaust art, the “Tale of the Sprinter” by Sudeep Pagedar, and Vladek Spiegelman in the memoirs Maus by Art Spiegelman are examples of how men suffered during the Holocaust and the amount of empathy
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This was one of the many nightmarish images of brutality in the book. The human body is stripped of everything that makes it recognizably human, reduced to bones and fat. Even dead, the captive Jews are not allowed the smallest dignity. In addition, Vladek shares stories about how they were treated like animals. “We lay on top of the other, like matches, like herrings. I pushed to a corner not to get crushed … High up I saw a few hooks to chain up maybe the animals"(Spiegelman 75). Considered racially inferior, the Jews were treated like animals. This is one of many scenes in the memoir where Jews are held in structures or cars that were initially built for animals. Vladek has a very complex personality because of his Holocaust experiences. Vladek Spiegelman is a disturbed, bitter old man who is unwilling to talk about the things that made him the way he is. Through Vladek Spiegelman, we are able to see how atrocity affected men during the Holocaust. Vladek’s character traits evoke empathy because he cannot be the man and father that he could have been because of this event. Art is a way to express emotions and feelings. Holocaust art and literature are products of atrocities. Men in literature and art are usually expressed as very bold figure. When you see a sculpture of a man, it is usually a masculine figure with bold features. The Holocaust stripped men of their masculinity
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