Maus banned?!


The cover of Art Spiegelman’s graphic novel Maus.

Amelia Barnum, Reporter

Maus banned?! A Tennessee school district has sparked controversy by prohibiting the book from the eighth-grade curriculum. The Pulitzer-prizing winning graphic novel is an allegorical story recounting the author’s parent’s experience during the Holocaust. The book was widely praised for its realistic Holocaust narrative, but on January 10th, 2022, a school board unanimously banned the novel for depicting nudity, profanity, and brutality. 

First of all, it is baffling that school boards dare set their sights on canceling an essential graphic novel in American history during an era plagued by youth mental illness and gun violence. If Maus gets banned, what’s to stop schools from banning works such as Elie Wiesel’s Night, John Boyne’s The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, or Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. Each of these historic award-winning works of literature is filled with violence, racism, and suffering, but so was the actual Holocaust. Why do people feel the need to silence the worst cry in human history? 

Secondly, it is atrocious that parents ban Maus for its cursing and imagery. In an uncensored and fast-paced social media world, students at the eighth-grade level are aware of every swear word in the book, as well as violence. Maus isn’t just a scary, depressing novel, but it’s also a window on the world’s lowest moment. It’s not just another story of how many evil acts people can commit but instead reminds the audience of the phrase “never again.”  It reflects the author’s place in the world and how he moves forward. 

In the end, it all comes down to responsibility. It is the responsibility of students to handle what they hear or see sensitively and respectfully, and it is  the parent’s responsibility to educate their children on history’s significance and lessons learned. Overall, one can hope that no more significant pieces of literature will be banned in the future.