The Meaning of the Term "Survivor" in MAUS and Beloved
However, if we look at the relationship between Vladek and Mala we come to see that the responsibility for the problem lies much more with Vladek than with Art. Second wife (seen as a replacement); Vladek's post-war trauma; Resents her for just wanting his money. Anja. Effect on the Story. Differences. and find homework help for other Maus questions at eNotes. Descriptions of Vladek and Artie's relationship can be discovered directly and a lack of patience on Artie's part due to possible relationship issues from his past. What role does Anja's death play in the relationship between Art and Vladek Spiegelman in the.
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.
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. 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.
Joshua Brown: Of Mice and Memory ()
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. Through the metaphor Maus palpably confronts the reader with the social relations of Eastern Europe of nations divided by nationalities and by culturally-constructed, politically-exploited stereotypes.
By drawing people as animals, Spiegelman evokes the stratification of European society that had seemed dormant but soon exploded into an orgy of racism. His work has been published in the New York Times, Playboy, the Village Voice, and many other periodicals, and his drawings have been exhibited in museums and galleries here and abroad. What is your first impression of Vladek Spiegelman? What does his remark about friends suggest about his personality?
How does it foreshadow revelations later in the book? How does Vladek get along with Mala, his second wife? What kind of things do they argue about? How long has it been since Artie last visited his father? What do you think is responsible for their separation? How does Vladek respond when Artie first asks him about his life in Poland? Why might he be reluctant to talk about those years?
On page 12 we see a close-up of Vladek as he pedals his exercise bicycle.
Maus I: A Survivor’s Tale Teacher’s Guide
What is the meaning of the numbers tattooed on his wrist? How does this single image manage to convey information that might occupy paragraphs of text? How was he introduced to Anja Zylberberg? Why do you think he chose her over Lucia? What is Vladek doing when Artie comes to visit him? How does his health figure elsewhere in the book? How does Vladek become wealthy? What does Vladek see while traveling through Czechoslovakia?
Why, on pageis the road that Vladek and Anja travel on their way back to Sosnowiec also shaped like a swastika? What other symbolic devices does the author use in this book?
Prisoner of War 1. When Artie refused to finish his food as a child, what did Vladek do? What means did he use to keep him out? What happens to his beard later on? How does Vladek feel after shooting the German soldier?
How did the Germans treat Vladek and other Jewish prisoners after transporting them to the Reich? How was this different from their treatment of Polish P. What recurring meaning does "Parshas Truma" have in his life?
How does Vladek arrange to be reunited with his wife and son? What visual device does Spiegelman use to show him disguising himself as a Polish Gentile? The Noose Tightens 1. Describe the activities depicted in the family dinner scene on pages What do they tell you about the Zylberbergs?
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? During the brutal mass arrest depicted on page 80, Vladek is framed by a panel shaped like a Jewish star. How does this device express his situation at that moment?
What happened to little Richieu? When Vladek begins telling this story on page 81, the first three rows of panels are set in the past, while the bottom three panels return us to the present and show the old Vladek pedaling his stationary bicycle. Why do you think Spiegelman chooses to conclude this anecdote in this manner?
What does the scene on pages suggest about the ways in which some Jews died and others survived? The vignette is shown below: Although Vladek survived the Holocaust, its memory is still quite vivid. He frowns at his son's attempt to write a novel about Vladek's experiences, believing time would be better spent on other endeavors. One example of such unwillingness can be found on page 12when Vladek tells his son that "no one wants anyway to hear such stories.
This trait can be found in many of such narratives, as many share a common thought: Vladek's life is altered as a result of the Holocaust, proving the experience was not eliminated by the conclusion of the Second World War. The event permanently scarred Vladek and many other survivors, affecting their views, relationships, and ways of life.
Art's relationship with his father is troubled by this occurrence, as he believes his father did not survive the Holocaust completely: The pain and anguish that Vladek feels is a direct result of the Holocaust; it is a part of his life he cannot eliminate. The image is shown below: Although he did not experience the terrors of the Holocaust, Art could also be called a Holocaust survivor.
As a member of the subsequent generations of Holocaust victims, he senses a strong connection with the plight of his people. Since he cannot use memories to aid his healing process, he decides to write a novel about his father's experiences. However, this catharsis is not fully successful, since at times he is unable to come to terms with his father's pain and his own.
This feeling is demonstrated in several instances, the best of which occurs in page sixteen of the second volume, when Art himself says " I somehow wish I had been in Auschwitz with my parent so I could really know what they lived through. In this occasion, he wished for the martyrdom many others suffered, without realizing his task is perhaps greater: Several other minor characters also convey their memories and methods of dealing with the pain created by surviving the Holocaust.
Art's psychiatrist confesses that, unlike others, he does not feel guilty about surviving the Holocaust. As shown in the vignette below, his memories of the "unspeakable evil" cause sadness instead of guilt or anger. This sadness, perhaps inexplicable to someone who has not been a victim of a terrible occurrence, is but one of the many end results of the Holocaust. Art decides not to go deeper into the theme, but it remains important as one of the ways in which the pain is eased.
Anja and Mala also present divergent perspectives on the theme. Although Anja survived the Holocaust, her emotional pain is unbearable. The end result, suicide, should be viewed as a direct consequence of the Holocaust, and her death should not be attributed to mental depression, but to the concentration camps. Mala's character does not freely express her views on the Holocaust, except on one instance when she exclaims she went though the camps, and suffered the same actions.
Her character serves, among other things, as a reminder that Holocaust survivors deal with the pain and memories in different ways. It presents the story of several people, connected by their race and past, struggling to survive not only slavery and its obvious mental and physical effects, but also the "unspeakable" crime of Beloved's slaughter. The methods employed differ according to the people, effectively portraying the plethora of techniques utilized by the survivors. The Penguin edition of Beloved contains the following description of Sethe on the back: