Is re-writing history a bad thing? According to George W. Bush it is. Although authors Sarah Vowell, Anne Scott Macleod, Ian Mortimer, Art Spiegelman and Rick Geary disagree with Bush that re-writing history is a bad thing. They all think it is helpful to re-write history, but it has to be written well and correctly.
There are many different ways to re-write history. Art Spiegelman, Rick Geary and the Darfur children all use graphic novels. These are good at teaching children what happened historically, but they get to actually see it instead of reading about it. All the authors are in agreement that this way of re-writing history is educational.
I completely agree with this theory. I personally do better looking at a graphic novel. A lot of people these days are visual learners and what better way to have a visual lesson then, a graphic novel. I know that as a student it is much easier to understand and remember something if I see it. Just reading it wouldn’t work for me. Most people are visual learners now due to the fact that there I so much visual activities out there. People are watching T.V. as well as surfing the web, basically twenty four/seven. This is the age of electronics. There is always a new, faster way to do things. That is why visual would work well for at least this generation.
Art Spiegelman tells us what it was like for the Jews during the Holocaust. In, “Maus: A Survivor’s Tale”, he portrays Jews as mice and the Nazi’s as Cats. He does this because mice are considered to be weak and small just like the Jews were next to the Nazis. Children can look at this graphic novel and realize that the Jews couldn’t do anything against the Nazis. They were defenseless just like a mouse with a cat. It is such a great way of teaching. The children can concentrate much more a tentatively on a comic in comparison to a long reading. They can actually visualize what the Jews had to go through in comparison to just reading about it.
Art Spiegelman is for re-writing history. He does show it correctly though. He doesn’t make up anything. He is repeating the words that his father is saying to him. He creates the scene that his father says. He makes the words come to life so that children can see what really happened. He shows us how his father and every other Jew felt next to the strong Nazi army. He also puts all the information including the Nazi symbol, the Swastika as well as the gold Jewish star that the Nazi’s made the Jews wear.
As a Jew I understood immediately the reasoning behind Spiegelman choosing cats and mice. Anyone that knows anything about the Holocaust knows that the Jews were defenseless against the strong Nazi army. This gives children a visual of the Holocaust. Shocking real pictures are too mature for them to see.
Rick Geary also made a graphic novel but his was about President Abraham Lincoln’s murder. He shows us a scene by scene of what happened to President Abraham Lincoln and John Wilkes Booth. The graphic novel starts off with a picture of Lincoln’s booth and then you see his body slumped over do to the gunshot. We actually get to the see the aftermath. We see Booth confronted by Major Rathbone. Then all of the sudden Booth jumps twelve feet to the stage but lands awkwardly and breaks his left ankle. We get to see the landing up-close and personal. We get to hear his words and see his facial expressions. Anyone who reads this will be taught exactly what happened on the night of April 14, 1865. They get to see Booth run off in to the night. They then get to see the pain and sadness on people’s faces as they carry President Lincoln to William Peterson’s bed. Everyone who reads this graphic novel will remember these pictures and they will remember what happened that night. These pictures will hit the hearts of the readers more than just text in a class textbook.
I also learned some from reading Sarah Vowell’s, “A Musical About The Declaration Of Independence.” She talked about going to a Musical portraying Lincoln’s Death. It is completely reenacted. I think that that is a great idea. What a better way to learn. You can watch a musical and be taught a school lesson. It is genius. What better way to get everyone’s attention then by song.
We can even learn from children as we see with the Darfur children’s drawings. As we look at the pictures we learn their pain and their suffering. You and I can feel, what they felt. They tell us their stories. They let us see what they see.
Sarah Vowell, Anne Scott Macleod, Ian Mortimer, explains how re-writing is both a good and bad thing. She says that the history needs to be correct. You can’t re-write history to try and make it sound better. That is just a story. History is supposed to be the true facts that make everyone who we are today. Sarah Vowell, Anne Scott Macleod, Ian Mortimer all agree that re-writing history is a good thing. It just needs to factual!
I have learned that we can learn from reading graphic novels. It helps us visualize and feel the history. Children will remember what they see in these books. They won’t remember the words in a textbook. Graphic novels bring the history to life. It remind me of a movie I saw called, “A Night At The Museum.” In the movie everything in the museum comes to life at night. Well, when I read graphic novels, all the stories I read come to life for me. I get to live what they lived. This helps me learn the facts and lets me become part of history.
Maus: A Survivor’s Tale, by Art Spiegelman. New York: Pantheon Books, 1986, 160 pp.,
The Murder of Abraham Lincoln (2005) by Rick Geary, ComicsLit
Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell (2005), Simon & Schuster, Inc
‘Beyond the Facts: how true originality in history has fallen foul of postmodernism, research targets and commercial pressure’, Times Literary Supplement (26 September 2008), pp. 16-17.
‘What isn’t History? The Nature and Enjoyment of History in the Twenty-First Century, History, 93, 4 (October 2008), pp. 454-74.
Writing Backward: Modern Models in Historical Fiction by Anne Scott MacLeod (January/February 1998)
Dr. Annie Sparrow, and Olivier Bercault. “Human Rights Watch.” Web. http://www.hrw.org/legacy/photos/2005/darfur/drawings/
Decision Points by former U.S. President George W. Bush. (November 9, 2010) Crown Publishing Group