Joshua Brown: Of Mice and Memory ()
The broken relationship of father son had affected both characters Vladek even The main issue here has something to do with the relationship of Artie and his father” (Johnson 2). Spiegelman, Art. Maus II and Here My Troubles Began. MAUS study guide contains a biography of Art Spiegelman, literature is the product of both Vladek and Art's relationships with the Holocaust. . But Maus also deals with these issues in other, more subtle ways, through the. “Congratulations! You've committed the perfect crime You put me here shorted all my circuits cut my nerve endings and crossed.
The spatial dimensions of a courtyard To Spiegelman, however, exhaustive research still is necessary if he is to distill the images for his readers. Referring to the machinery in the tinshop, Spiegelman noted: The final drawing will not reflect any of this stuff because it's going to be a two-inch high drawing with a little line representing an electrical cable or something But, somehow, I don't feel comfortable until I know what it is that I'm [drawing], where it's situated.
Even if it's ultimately a rather fictionalized space, I have to believe in that space enough so that it can be there, even though what finally represents that space is so modest that somebody can project a whole other space onto what I've drawn It's just steeping myself in enough stuff so that I know what it is. And once I know what it is, I assume that I can get some of it over.
Yet, the "unknowableness" remains a problem: For instance, the stuff in the camps that I'm working on now is very, very difficult because I just can't get a clear sense of movement through Auschwitz. None of the accounts are sufficient to let me feel that.
How much is the artist willing to invent to fill out the incomplete record? When parts of the past are cloaked in silence, how can the artist lend visual coherence to the images without producing pictures that merely provide an illusion of knowledge?
Unless I need to show it, I try not to speculate on what might be happening in the background. In Maus, Spiegelman has used the strengths of the conventions of the comic strip, stretching and rearranging text and image into a coherent presentation. This may seem a long way from listened-to words and transcribed language. But if we accept the idea that history is a construct and not facts existing in a natural state, the aspects of Maus that at first sight seem removed from biography will emerge as critical constitutive parts.
Maus was published in a digest-sized book similar to the periodical you hold in your hand. That size is, of course, unusual for a comic book. Within this format, Spiegelman designed panels that average about two inches in height. The veteran cartoonist has used this dimension to his advantage, creating emphases and effects through sudden changes in an otherwise more uniform presentation. When Vladek and Anja, for the first time, confront Nazism in Czechoslovakia, its impact upon them and their accompanying fear emerge through the abruptly changed dimension of the panel: The effect is heightened by Spiegelman's unusual method of cartooning.
The standard approach is to draw a page twice the size of the published version, permitting the artist to tackle detail more easily. The reduced finished product appears tighter and sharper to the reader's eye and, practically, obscures mistakes.
An illusion, in effect, is produced for the reader, a "naturalized" image divorced from its production. Spiegelman decided, instead, to draw Maus in the constricted format in which it would be finally published. It's a little more like reading somebody's handwriting or a journal if it's the same size as you're writing.
The visual language of the images underscores this artistic point. The style of Maus is as concise and direct as the writing in the captions. As with the size of the panels, there is a uniformity of characterization throughout: Other than distinctive clothing and different linguistic constructions in the captions, individual expressiveness is rendered through imaginative use of gestures and simple comicbook symbols for emotions: Embarrassment Desperation This quieter style is not due to lack of skill, as one can see by comparing the images in the book with those in Spiegelman's first attempt at Maus, a three-page strip published in Funny Aminals [sic] in or by looking at "Prisoner on the Hell Planet," a strip included in its entirety within Maus.
Maus Through careful observation of comics his loft apartment contains one of the largest collections of comic art I've seen and through "progressive self-revision," to use Michael Baxandall's phrase, in rough sketch after rough sketch of Maus's images, Spiegelman sought to reduce the gap between words and pictures.
How does guilt shape Art and Vladek's relationship in Maus? by Akanksha Pathak on Prezi
I didn't want people to get too interested in the drawings. I wanted them to be there, but the story operates somewhere else. It operates somewhere between the words and the idea that's in the pictures and in the movement between the pictures, which is the essence of what happens in a comic.
So, by not focusing you too hard on these people you're forced back into your role as reader rather than looker One analogy I've used before is that these faces are a little bit like Little Orphan Annie's eyes If you look at those blank disks you see a lot of expression, but it's taking place somewhere other than on that piece of paper.
And by keeping the faces relatively blank, relatively similar to each other, you end up entering into and participating more in bringing this thing to life as a reader. In that sense it's a little more like reading. Perhaps this explains why, as we read, the simplified images nonetheless magnify the visual impact of character, and the telegraphing of emotions and relationships.
Maus Presentation Prezi by Shana Romancheck on Prezi
This effect is particularly powerful when Maus is read cover to cover. The story of the Holocaust grows as we follow Vladek's chronology, as we stumble over the ruts and holes in the pitted roadway of his memory, and as the slights and misplaced affections of Art's and Vladek's brittle relationship come fully to life.
Perhaps, by isolating a two-page spread, the experience of reading Maus--and the nature of the discourse it elicits--may be suggested. In this excerpt, shown on pagesVladek has returned after being released from a prisoner of war camp. He returns to the demonstrably straitened circumstances of the Sosnowiec Jewish community, evident even in the comparatively sumptuous circumstances of his in-laws' dinner table. The simple rendering of the mice, their very lack of individuality, heightens the captions' power to convey information.
At the same time, we are not left with mere stick figures to ignore as we pore through the text. The interchanges take place over a dinner table, and the actions and gestures bespeak the peregrinations and little bits of chaos in a family thrown together under the intensification of Nazi policy. The sketched-out activity gives the reader a sense of time and circumstance, drawing the information out within a specific context. Spiegelman, in the guise of a cartoonist, renders the intellectual work of the oral historian as a palpable act: It is a finely-wrought balance: III Which finally brings me to the subject of mice.
I've saved for last the most controversial aspect of Maus, the metaphor of mice representing Jews I haven't been neglecting the issue of Spiegelman's use of Hitler's vermin metaphor because I think the subject is unimportant--how can it be unimportant when Spiegelman places in the epigraph Hitler's statement "The Jews are undoubtedly a race, but they are not human"? But Spiegelman's use of the metaphor must be placed within the overall concept and construction of Maus.
The obvious question to ask, the question that has been repeatedly posed to me on the occasions Maus has come up in conversation, is: Why not portray the Jews, the Poles, and the Germans as human beings?
It has not often been noticed that in fact Spiegelman has done just that: The anthropomorphic presentation of the characters should make that eminently clear, and were there any doubts Spiegelman dispels them. When Anja and Vladek hide in the cellar of a Polish house: In fact, we are not really confronted by animals playing people's roles but by humans who wear animal masks indeed, when the Jews try to pass as Poles, they wear pig masks.
Mala comments how nobody is like Vladek, but maybe what he went through was just so much different than what their friends experienced; he couldn't possibly act the same as them. While they may each have an understanding of what it was like to go through the camps, every camp was different and every person had different experiences. It's really hard to say that nobody is like Vladek when Mala is only comparing him to a small group of people that live near them.
Finally, during the novel Vladek always wants Artie to come over or to stay longer. This is more profound because survivors of the Holocaust had a tendency to cling to their remaining family members. The idea of this is completely understandable. When you have virtually no one left, you naturally want to be around any remaining family members that you still have.
He discusses in chapter three how rushed marriages weren't that uncommon after the Holocaust; people wanted to recreate their lost families.
Not only did they want to recreate them, but "the newborn children were named after those who had perished". The loss of one's children had a more profound affect than that of losing other family members such as parents or siblings. Based on Kellermann's book about Holocaust survivor trauma, most survivors shut down their memories of the atrocity. He states that survivors tried their best to put in "a conscious effort not to think too much about the past, and to repress their traumatic experiences as much as possible" Kellermann It wasn't until much later that the survivors started opening up to their families about their experiences, and even then they were cautious as to who they shared their stories with for they were afraid that people would misunderstand them and their stories.
Although these personality traits are more focused on Vladek, it is important to consider how Mala was affected as well. Late Life Adaptations, has another interesting view on the effects of survivors.
They introduce the idea that women survivors suffered more psychological effects than the male survivors. Women took the loss of their husbands a lot harder than of husbands losing their wives.
Women have to deal with more extreme trauma at the loss of their husbands and family because besides all of the psychological effects, they are also affected socially and economically as well. Rather it shows objectively the relationship that Vladek and Art have, the feelings of guilt that Art must deal with in order for that relationship to bloom, and the desire for increased understanding of the experiences that molded his father.
These aspects of the book are as important as the chronological telling of Vladek's story. In attempting to capture his relationship with his father in the form of a comic book, Art must be realistic about his feelings for his father, both before, during and after the project of documenting his life in this way.
His direct need was to spend time with his son, and this was a good way to do just that.
The relationship between the two men grows and, as the book progresses, they attempt to move beyond the petty arguments that they have when the project is just beginning. MAUS required so many hours of interviews that Vladek and Art's relationship could not help but change as the interviews progress.
This is documented in the book as Art wrestles with his feelings of resentment for his father and for his won existance.