Maus I and II Assignments

My classmates and I, or rather, the entire 8th grade at my school, is reading and working on assignments related to Maus I and II, both by Art Spiegelman, for the rest of this school year.


The following questions are about Maus I:

Chapter 1 – This is a graphic memoir. A graphic memoir tells a person’s life through text and drawings. Why does Art Spiegelman use mice instead of people to portray the characters in the story? What do the mice represent?

Answer: The author probably wanted to use allegory to compare the relationship of mice and cats to the relationship between Jews and Nazis in Germany during World War II. The mice were the Jews, and the Nazis were cats. 

Chapter 2 – Why does Ms. Stefanska go to jail? What role did Anja play in Ms. Stefanska’s going to jail?

Answer: Ms. Stefanska went to jail because the police found a package in her shop that contained communist papers. At the time, communists were despised. Anja had meant for Ms. Stefanska to hold onto it so she wouldn’t get in trouble, but the police found it in her shop, so she got arrested as a consequence.  

Chapter 3 – What does Vladek mean on page 50, when he says, “Well at least I did something.” Do you believe that he is justified in feeling this way? Explain.

Answer: Vladek meant that even though he accidentally killed someone that isn’t the enemy, he helped by finding the body. I believe Vladek is justified for feeling this way, because he basically cleaned his own mess. That’s something at least.

Chapter 4 – Although Jews were allowed only limited rations under the Nazi occupation, Vladek manages to circumvent these restrictions for a while. What methods does he use to support himself and his family?

Answer: He goes to shops that still owed him money from before the war. He bribes his father-in-law’s friend’s overseer(the friend owns a tin shop) to work there. Vladek tries to protect Richieu by giving him to some people to hide. He owned a grocery, a black market business, and traded gold and jewelry.

Chapter 5 – How did Vladek care for Anja after the destruction of the Srodula ghetto? Contrast his behavior toward his first wife, during the worst years of the war, with the way he now treats Mala?

Answer: Vladek was sensitive and caring. He told her that he needed her, and they would struggle to survive together. He was supportive, caring, and kind to her. He also loved her. In contrast, he doesn’t like Mala. He thinks she only wants his money, so he treats her badly. Both of them argue with each other often. Mala doesn’t like him because of his lack of concern, he makes her feel inferior to Anja, and acts miserly.

Chapter 6 – Why does Artie call his father a murderer? Is he justified? Who else has he called a murderer, and why?

Art calls his father a murderer because he burned Anja’s diaries and memories sometime after she died. Vladek wanted to forget what happened to him and Anja, and he claimed “These papers had too many memories.” So he burned them. That’s why Art is justified. It had Anja’s memories. His mother’s personality as viewed by herself won’t be known to Art because of what Vladek did. He basically “murdered” anything left of her. Art called his mother a murderer because she held him tightly. Though he blamed himself for her death afterwards. 


The assignment for Maus II:

Part 2 – Write an overall impression of what Vladek went through in Auschwitz and how it changed him. How has it affected Artie and Francoise?

In Auschwitz, it was a really tough time. When Art went to a counseling session with his counselor, he asked the counselor, who was also a survivor of Auschwitz, what it felt like being there. The counselor scared him by suddenly saying, “BOO!”. He then said Auschwitz felt like that from start to beginning, and that Vladek didn’t survive because of his resourcefulness. It was all random. That was reality in Auschwitz. It is basically a camp made to finish off the prisoners, but slowly. People were underfed, beaten by the Nazis, overworked, and malnourished. People barely got fitting clothes(Vladek was a lucky one), and eventually gassed to death or killed if they were too bony and weak to work. Since Vladek spoke Polish and English, had shoe-repairing skills, and had experience being a tinman, Vladek was a little better off than most people because of his usefulness. His skill as a tinman allowed him to be excluded from the bunch of people killed at once in gas chambers near the end of his time at Auschwitz. It caused Vladek to not be wasteful about anything. That’s why he doesn’t like spending money and buying things. It annoys Art greatly, but Francoise seems to have more tolerance of it. 



Book Review: “Artemis Fowl-The Opal Deception” by Eoin Colfer

This is a review on the book, Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception by Eoin Colfer


Artemis Fowl was mindwiped in the third book of the series, Artemis Fowl: The Eternity Code and has no memory of meeting the fairies. This has also caused him to revert to his former self, the one cruel enough to kidnap a fairy. But he has a conscience that he chooses not to listen to

Opal Koboi has been in a long coma until she had her two minions, pretending to be janitors, in the J. Argon Clinic broke her out by making a clone, which was illegal and didn’t do much because the clones were always brain dead. They had the DNA and looked like that person, and everything was the same except they can’t move. So it was basically Opal feigning a coma, which was a perfect deception plan for her. When she broke out, she commenced her plan, which was a long list, but most importantly taking revenge on Holly, Commander Root, Artemis, and Butler. First, she goes to Root and Holly, luring them into an old magma cave and strapped a bomb on Root and told Holly that there was a sweet spot she could shoot that will save him, but there actually wasn’t one. Holly did just that so everyone thought that Holly has killed him, and she is a fugitive.

Next, Opal tries to kill Artemis by sending a bio-bomb. She planted a tracker in a painting she knew that Artemis was going to steal, so when he went to steal it, it alerted the tracker and a bio-bomb came after him. It chases him to the hotel, and Butler noticed it. They jumped out of the roof. They were safe, but Holly almost died from saving them. She had to carry Artemis out, but couldn’t carry Butler because he was too heavy. Then it goes very far underground to Mulch, who hearing is soon, and he is going to break out because Artemis hacked the system which made the warrant date AFTER they searched his house, but unfortunately Root died and they start taking him back underwater. Mulch uses his dwarf talents to break out, and he goes to the surface and meets up with Butler. He restores his memories with the disk Artemis gave him. Now with knowledge of Opal’s plan, they decide to get Artemis and Holly free.

Mulch convinces Chix that Opal is back and Holly might still be alive. Because Holly saved his life in the second book, he decided to Opal once again tries to kill both Artemis and Holly by leaving them in an abandoned theme park called the Eleven Wonders. Mulch went to the police station and talked to Commander Kelp, who replaced Commander Root, and convinced him to give him the keys to a shuttle. They go to the Temple of Artemis to save Artemis and Holy because the park is full of trolls, and her minions’ spray them with troll pheromones. They end up getting out of it after a while. Then, Artemis restores his memories and they hunt down Opal locating her in a chute. Foaly finds out about Opal’s plan and convinces the council to send a supersonic attack ship to check on Holly. Opal got an operation to make her look like a human. Then, she uses a Mesmer on Belinda Zito to make him believe she’s his adopted daughter.

Opal is in a camouflaged ship, and Artemis knows where it is because he did a fuel check. He devised a plan for Mulch to get on the ship and steal something, leading them to believe he tells him to steal the charges, but he hid the charges in a compartment that can’t be seen by anything unless you know where it is. He also steals her truffles and leaves a communicator in the ship, then leaves. They talk through the communicator and tells her he stole her truffles. Opal opens the compartment and finds the bombs, and she gets away in escape pods and fires two heat-seeking plasma rockets at Artemis’s ship but it goes a different way and shoots the supersonic ship which leads the ship to believe that Holly is shooting them. He blows up the missiles and is ordered to fire at Holly by Sool. He doesn’t shoot though and they end up taking over the ship. Artemis, Butler, Holly, and Mulch get taken in for questioning, and after a long time, they finally got all the accusations and charges dropped on them, so they didn’t have to get punishment.



  • Artemis Fowl
  • Holly Short
  • Domovoi Butler
  • Mulch Diggums
  • Commander Root
  • Commander Kelp
  • Opal Koboi
  • Foaly
  • Chix

Setting: The setting would be in the hospital that Opal broke out, the LEP headquarters, outside, many places unnamed.

This could be bought at Amazon. The kindle version, 6.99, is two dollars away from the paperback version: 8.99. This book can also be bought at other stores, and sold at the library.

Publisher: Viking Press/Disney

What l liked: This book was suspenseful and had action from the  beginning. It was interesting to see how Artemis would be after he loses his memory, and how he is after he gains back his memories. It was also interesting to see how Opal would carry out her plans after supposedly being in a coma for long.

What I disliked: Nothing.

So I give this book a 5 stars, and Eoin Colfer did a nice job on the Artemis Fowl series.

How To Tell If Someone Is Lying

It can be uncomfortable talking to someone you think might be lying. You may have a hard time focusing on the conversation, and instead trying to tell if you can really trust them or not. The following are signs that a person may be lying:

1. Change in Demeanor or Voice: First, you assess how they normally talk. If you know that, then you can start asking them questions you don’t know the answer to. If the person’s attitude, manner, or body language suddenly turns different, (Ex: From calm and cool to agitated or nervous) that person is probably lying to you.

2. Person uses “I” and “me” less: People who lie about themselves tend to use the words “I” and “me” less often then the truthful people. They want t0 give themselves psychological distance from the lie.

3.  A Person Has an Answer for Everything:  Normally, people have to pause and think about the answer when you ask them questions. If the person readily has an answer to those kinds of questions, it means they rehearsed “the lie” that they were going to say.

4. They fidget, fuss, and do unnecessary things: The person is restless and guilty because of her lie. Though he or she won’t fidget much when lying to a traffic cop or someone of authority, that person won’t sit still when deceiving his or her husband or wife.

5. A person repeatedly say he or she is honest: People who lie would swear to God, or something similar to that. They would emphasize on the validity of what they said with statements like “To tell the truth,…” or “To be perfectly honest,…” Most people who tell the truth don’t need to go that far.

Creative Project: Poetry

Sonnet of The Ocean

By: Mohammed F.


The ocean, a blue temptress beneath clouds.

Her dwellers, the creatures underneath.

They’re big, they’re small, they’re quiet, they’re loud.

The ocean, a mysterious yet majestic one beneath.


Her vastness is to be explored.

Not even light can go so deep.

Dangerous but beautiful, she is adored

By aquatic creatures, not a rubbish heap.


But she isn’t the one to mess with.

The death of species is the price.

The ocean is, for the sake of balance, a pith.

So before you pollute it, think twice.


So this is the ocean for you.

A watery world, that is true.














To My Past Self

To myself from 2016,

The future is  different than it used to be. There have been a lot of technological advances. It’s really hard to believe. The U.S government’s cyber-attacking ability has been more potent than before. Kind of how the Pentagon took down Iran’s nuclear program with cyber attacks when they were about to do something terrible with it. The Obama administration took credit for that in 2012.  Your home in 2026 hasn’t really changed; the outer walls and gate are painted with brown and indigo paint. And guess what, you’ll have an awesome girlfriend, finally after some failed attempts and all those crushes you were too shy to approach. You’ll have a car, a rented apartment, a girlfriend (Oops, did I say that again? Yeah.); you’ll be independent. The overall climate of the Earth isn’t really a lot warmer than back in 2016, even though us people are pumping a ton of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. You can’t believe it? Then tell me why the Arctic Ice was coming back during your time after a sharp decline (also at your time), though our use of greenhouse gases are still increasing? To sum it up, the future is different in 2026 than it was in 2016, but not so different. Many good things and not so good (personal) things happened in the course of 10 years.

My advice to you is to never give up, never doubt yourself. Actually, go ahead and do so, but don’t stay there for long. If you have a certain goal, but you don’t be proactive and serious enough to accomplish it, there is zero chance of you accomplishing that goal. Keep a positive outlook in life,  because otherwise wouldn’t help you at all. Also because difficulties are a chance to make yourself better in case another opportunity comes. Don’t stress too much about your future plans, and things will naturally happen when it happens, and you will become a nice doctor someday. Don’t be too lazy, and take the initiative. You will get results that way. Try your best to accept failure if it happens, because it is a chance to better yourself and give it another try. You’ll do fine.


Good luck,

Mohammed F.

December, 2026


Stargirl: The Relationship Between Leo and Stargirl

Stargirl and Leo’s relationship throughout the book, “Stargirl” by Jerry Spinelli.

Victoria L.

Much has changed in Stargirl. Leo and Stargirl like (love) each other. They’ve become best friends and boyfriend and girlfriend. They do activities together on weekends a lot of the time. Soon, Leo starts to become the victim of “shunning”. He urges Stargirl to become or seem normal, like everybody. She becomes Susan for a while, just like any normal teenager. She did this because that’s how much she loves Leo. However, the shunning still continues. She later reverts back to Stargirl and leaves a lasting memory behind of the “bunny hop” at the Ocotillo Ball. Leo had not been there but they still love each other.

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Book Review 2: “The Blood of Olympus” by Rick Riordan

This is a review on The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan. I hope you like it.


Picking up after the events of House of Hades, the heroes are divided into two groups.

The first group is made up of Jason, Piper, and Leo (along with Percy, Annabeth, Frank, and Hazel). They’re on the Argo II and they need to make it to the Acropolis. That’s where Gaea, the Earth Mother, is supposed to awaken, and they need to stop it.

The other group has Nico and Reyna who, along with Coach Hedge, are trying to get the Athena Parthenos statue back to Camp Half-Blood as a symbol of truce between Greeks and Romans…and hopefully stop Octavian from launching an onslaught against the camp.
With Nico’s shadow-travel ability, they’re able to zip between time zones with the statue in tow. They travel through Pompeii, Portugal, a cruise ship in the Atlantic, Puerto Rico, and South Carolina. Along the way, they fight hordes of undead and hordes of werewolves and are pursued by a Giant named Orion(he’s the same Orion as our constellation, Orion)

In Puerto Rico, Reyna’s home, Reyna reluctantly reunites with her sister, Hylla, who wants to use her as bait for Orion. Bad idea. Orion wipes out most of the Hunters of Artemis before Reyna can escape, but Hylla survives. Orion catches up with Reyna near Camp Half-Blood, and Reyna summons her inner strength to defeat him.

As Nico sabotages Octavian’s efforts to attack Camp-Half Blood, Reyna delivers the statue just in time…in time for Gaea to awaken.

Jason, Annabeth, and Piper learn that the strait of Corinth is chock full of death, and they have to go around the entire Peloponnese in order to reach Athens. They’re advised to seek out Nike, the goddess of victory, along the way. She mentions another prophecy: One of them will die. But she advises them to seek out the physician’s cure, which can bring someone back to life.

They retrieve the ingredients on their journey. Along the way, Jason is impaled, Percy is poisoned, Annabeth gets really scared, and everyone does battle with a statue demanding to see their health insurance. With the cure in hand, they reach the Parthenon where they end up feeding into the prophecy. Percy and Annabeth are injured, and their blood awakens Gaea.

Leo flies in on a giant mechanical dragon, lifts Gaea into the sky, and blows her up, with the help of Jason and Piper. He dies in the process.  He manages to self-administer the cure, which brings him back to life, and he flies to the island of Calypso, the girl he loves, and finally gets her out of there.

(Plot taken and edited from here:




  •  Jason Grace
  • Reyna Ramirez-Arellano
  • Leo Valdez
  • Nico de Angelo
  • Piper McLean
  • Gaea and her servants
  • The Greek/Roman Gods
  • Other minor characters

Setting: The main setting is overseas, islands around the world, and in Camp Half-Blood because the characters aren’t on one main setting. The conditions and weather was good on somedays, wicked on other days.

This book, if you want to buy it, costs 6.54 Paperback, and 11.99 Hardcover. It’s sold in Amazon and other online shopping sites, and in libraries.

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion Books

What I liked about this book: There is a lot of action between the heroes and Gaea’s army. I liked how the heroes were divided into two groups, because each group had it’s own dangers and suspense. Also, the fact that Octavian will go to war to invade Camp Half-Blood and destroy the Greeks with onagers adds a lot more sense of hopelessness and suspense to the story because it makes things worse, especially when it’s hard enough for Nico to shadow-travel so far.

What I disliked: The fact that the story had to end with Leo dying, his body blown somewhere far from Camp Half-Blood as a result of the explosion after the battle with Gaea, and then coming back to life while his friends grieve his death.

I definitely give this book a 5 stars. Rick Riordan has done well in writing it.

The Tell-Tale Heart: Comparison of Suspense-Story vs. Film

The Tell-Tale Heart is a short mystery story written by Edgar Allan Poe, and the film was made by Ryan Shovey.

Both the film and the short story, The Tell-Tale Heart,  are alike in creating suspense. A  reason why is because both tell the same story with the same words played out. One way is the first person narration. Another way is the timing. Also, the setting helps to build tension and suspense too.

First of all, the first person narration helps to make suspense, especially in both the story and film. Throughout the story and film, the narrator questions his own madness, and it is pretty clear that the narrator is mentally unstable. It’s not always clear what the narrator will do next; he is insane, and logic doesn’t apply to his thoughts and actions. We can’t be sure what is real, as the narrator may be imagining things. This creates suspense.

Secondly, the timing in both the story and film creates suspense. For example, the narrator goes into the man’s room each night for four weeks and shines a small light on the man’s eye while he is sleeping, building suspense on what he will do next. He finally kills the man on the eighth night.The arrival of the police also builds suspense, since it’s unclear whether or not they will uncover the truth. The suspense is relieved when it happens that the narrator will get away, but builds back up when the narrator decides to have tea with the police, and starts hearing the beating of the old man’s heart.

Finally, the setting of the story and film creates suspense because most of the story’s actions take place at night, which helps to build the tension. The narrator creeps into the man’s room each night at midnight, when no one is awake, and the only light seen is the one the narrator shines on the old man’s eye. Meanwhile, deathwatch beetles tick outside, contributing to the dark, creepy atmosphere. In the film, thunder and lightning is able to be heard and seen, which adds an even more ominous mood. With this setting, Poe and the film-maker both builds terror and suspense.

In conclusion, the film and Poe creates suspense in similar ways. They both use first person narration, which helps create suspense. The timing of everything that happens in both film and story alike, creates suspense. Also, the setting of both the film and story creates suspense. This is how Poe and the film are alike in creating suspense.