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The two most shocking stories that depict the life paved with sufferings in the most explicit way, The Dew Breaker and Maus do have much in common. Because of the air of despair that the two stories are pierced through with, they seem to have many points of contact. Despite the seeming difference in the details of each of the seven stores, there is the invisible and almost intangible connection between the seven parts of the book.
It is quite peculiar that the Ka family, appearing in the first story, is intertwined with Nadine’s life further on, as Danticat moves further on in his story of a million of lives making the elements of the whole. Another peculiar connection that can be made here is the sequence of events occurring in Michel’s life. Once appearing as a tenant sharing a dwelling with Dany, this character further on appears in Monkey’s Tail for the readers to see the way this personality develops.
When Life Goes in Spirals
Art Spiegelman had seated himself in the chair comfortably and was watching Edwidge Dandicat browse through Maus. Dandicat lifted his eyes and nodded.
“It burns my fingers. Literally.” He fell silent for a moment, and then added, “And my eyes, too.”
“Have you ever asked yourself a question, what’s the point of this mental torture?” Spiegelman wondered. “What is the use of reviving the most painful experience of the past?”
“That is the question,” Dandicat agreed in a mock-Shakespearean manner. “In fact, this helps to reevaluate the event of the past, see some people in the other way. That is a way to shed some light on the situation. That’s what happens in Maus, If I am not mistaken. It is much like the story told in Maus in a train, the one about “one fellow’s cousin what lived in Germany” (Spiegelman 33)”
“I agree,” Spiegelman nodded. “That was your idea in The Book of Dead. This is all about the attempts to understand the past and make the other see it with your own eyes. As your character, Ka, said, “It was hardly revolutionary, rough and not too detailed, minimalist at best, but it was my favorite of all my attempted representations of my father” – that is rather fine definition of what we have created, isn’t it?”
“Exactly,” Dandicat said.
What Makes One Cause Pain
Ridden with pan and sorrow, both stories not only tell about the sufferings of the victims, but also reveal certain traits of their torturers’ character. One of the most crucial problems of the two stories is the answer to the question, “What makes those people torture the others?”
The answer, plain and terrifying, is lying on the surface. It is all the fear that makes these butchers pursue heir victims and cause them pain. Once the torturers disobey, they will share the fate of their victims, and this is the main reason for the brutes to continue committing their crimes: “This man who cut my face,” he continues, “I shot and killed him, like I killed many people.” (Dandicat 22)
In Quest for Hope
Despite the terrible things that occur in The Dew Breaker, it still seems that there is some hope left. Learning to understand what makes people fear and act against their will, one can see the ways to fight the both. The Dew Breaker helps to deal with the reader’s own fears and overcome them, which means that there is still some hope for happiness to come.
Edwidge Danticat. The Dew Breaker. New York City, NY: Vintage Books, 2007. Print.
Spiegelman, Art. Maus. London, UK: Penguin Books, 1991. Print.