Synopsis[ edit ] Most of the book weaves in and out of two timelines. In the frame tale of the narrative present,  Spiegelman interviews his father Vladek in the Rego Park neighborhood of New York City  in — His father responds in broken English, "Friends?
Not only is it the first graphic novel to ever win a Pulitzer prize, but its presence has been ubiquitous in academia—appealing to scholars interested in areas such as the image-text relationship, animal studies, postmodernism, history, memoir, Holocaust studies, and race, among others.
The core narrative focuses on depicting the experiences of Vladek Spiegelman, a Polish Holocaust survivor, as he struggles to survive the horrors triggered by the rise of Hitler and the German Nazi Party.
The following set of panels are depicted on page 90 of The Complete Maus. These panels highlight how events from the past and the present combine within the same pages—which sometimes makes it difficult to keep track of the narrative strand that is taking place.
The interesting aspect about these intertwining narratives is that many times they clash or interrupt each other. Vladek often tells his story in a very fragmented fashion. From page 25 of The Complete Maus.
According to Jameson, since postmodernism is characterized by our loss of connection to history, what we know as the past is nothing but a style or as he refers to it, a simulacrum or a code that is commodified into our collective consciousness. If you take another look at figure 1, notice how the event taking place in the present and the event taking place in the past are colored and stylized in the same fashion.
Could this be approached as an attempt to escape from the conventions of pastiche that are usually used in postmodern historicism?
The fact that Spiegelman represents characters as animals can also be interpreted as a symptom of pastiche. In order to grasp the complexities of the relationships that exist between Jews, non-Jewish Poles, and Germans, Spiegelman represents these socio-cultural demographics as animals—Jews are represented as mice, Germans are represented as cats, and non-Jewish Poles are represented as pigs.
All of these animals are associated with strong signs and connotations, which Spiegelman appropriates to bracket a better historical understanding of the tensions that exist between these demographics.
Sure, I think today, it is clearly understood that it is impossible to reach absolute truth or that it is impossible to truly understand the past—which explains our current cynicism towards historical depictions and distillations.
However, should this prevent us from attempting to access or recreate history through art? This view is too unproductive and stagnant—not to mention frustrating. A better question would be: As always, feel free to discuss these ideas below!
Works Cited Jameson, Fredric. Duke University Press, Maus is considered a representative work in second-generation Holocaust literature, literature about the Holocaust written from the perspective of the survivors’ children. As the critic Arlene Fish Wilner explains, “In the Jewish tradition, the transmission of familial and communal history from parent to child is a sacred obligation.
In Maus I: My Father Bleeds History Art Spiegelman has simultaneously expanded the boundaries of a literary form and found a new way of imagining the Holocaust, an event that is commonly described as unimaginable. The form is the comic book, once dismissed as an entertainment for children and regarded as suited only for slapstick comedy, action-adventure, or graphic horror.
Maus is a haunting tale within a tale, weaving the author’s account of his tortured relationship with his aging father into an astonishing retelling of one of history's most unspeakable tragedies.
It is an unforgettable story of survival and a disarming look at the legacy of trauma/5(43). As a story about the Holocaust in comic form, Art Spiegelman’s Maus accomplishes the seemingly impossible. Maus tells the story of Spiegelman’s father, Vladek, and his experience as a Polish Jew during the Holocaust.
Running parallel to the story is the story of Spiegelman’s interactions with his father as he visits his father on numerous occasions to record his memories. Essay about Maus: A Survivor's Tale Words | 7 Pages. Maus: A Survivor's Tale, by Art Spiegelman, tells the story of his father's survival in Auschwitz during the Holocaust, as well as about Art's relationship with his father, brought out through the interview process and writing the two books.
Free summary and analysis of the events in Art Spiegelman's Maus: A Survivor's Tale that won't make you snore. We promise.