Maus 1, Maus Art Speigelman's Works Maus Term Paper

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Maus 1, Maus

Art Speigelman's works Maus 1 and Maus 2 serve as an exploration of the father and son bond after an traumatic event, the Holocaust and how it influences relationships. These works act as a way to explore such stereotypes about Jews and the aftermath of the Holocaust especially exploring how it affects the next generation.

Such a situation creates many dilemmas for the offspring of the survivors such as guilt, remorse, jealousy and envy. In the case of young Artie, he seems obsessed by the past as if it will shed some light on his father's thoughts and actions. He is plagued by the shadow of an older brother he never knew yet envies because his parents cannot let him go. It seems ironic, almost sarcastic that such a story should be presented in the form of comics but in this method of storytelling Speigelman is able to present the father's survival of one of history's most horrendous nightmares. He uses the metaphor of the mouse the rodent in his Jewish characters while the Nazis are the cats who hunt them. Nonetheless, this animal imagery does not detract from the serious subject t matter of the horror of the Holocaust but acts an agent to emphasize the familial tensions of the Speigelman family. In this way, use of comics acts as a way of presenting the subject matter for mass consumption. The writer/artist makes the subject matter tolerable or easy to take. Comics simplifies the content for the audience.
What the author does well is to establish a crystalline ambiguity (Speigelman 44) as an oxymoron that privileges, preserves and makes clear an ambiguity that maintains the chaos of human relationships more specifically his parents relationship. It is his disastrous history that has a direct influence upon the familial structure and its health. In Maus 1, Speigelman attempts to retell his father's story but he avoids direct articulation of his own pain because he sees his pain as insignificant when compared with his parents. This makes the audience wonder how truthful he is being with not only himself but with the content. This creates more questions for the audience as the comics progress. With this mind, it is possible Speigelman is using this as a literary device to reflect a cultural trait of Jews. This questioning is typical in the Jewish religion and this helps the narrative less predictable.

In Maus 1 Artie is motivated to ask questions about Poland because of his mother's suicide and the shadow of his lost brother. Still he is unable to nail down any conclusive facts about the past. He says to his father "I still want to draw that book about you ... about your life in Poland and the war" ( 12). His father thinks he should draw what makes money and thinks it is a child-like request to write about the old days. One of the reasons his father refuses to discuss the past is that he believes Art has no.....

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