A Literary Analysis Of Art Spiegelman's Maus

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January 30, 1933 marks the day Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany. No one could have predicted that he would be the responsible for the Holocaust; a genocide in which approximately six million Jews were killed by Hitler’s Nazi regime and its collaborators. Graphic novelist Art Spiegelman, the son of Polish-Jewish Holocaust survivors, uses his father’s stories of the Jewish genocide to create Maus, a first hand account of the Holocaust told through casual interviews with his father. Art Spiegelman incorporates information most authors would exclude from their work in order to give a raw representation of all the parts of his father’s story. By decoding the excessive details Spiegelman incorporates, we are able to understand how…show more content…
Depending on the mood Art Spiegelman is trying to set, he uses either a fiat comic style, cross hatching, or wood carving, yet always uses black ink, creating stark contrasts of light, shadows and shading (Marotous and Mahoney). The simplicity and lack of color enhances the dark, cold tone of the theme and plot. With his style, he is able to not only share his story through the words of his father, but also the actions that may often be overlooked. Art Spiegelman has said “Five or six comics on one piece of paper… [I am] my father’s son” (Chute 202). The neat, nitpicky characteristic of Vladek, Art’s father, has been passed down to Art and is even apparent in his tight, packed style of work. Art explains how the one trait he learned from his father was packing a suitcase in order for him to learn to use every space possible because the ‘ice might be thinner than one would think’; meaning that his father didn't want him to take anything for granted (Chute 202). The qualities that Vladek picked up during the Holocaust have not only affected him but also the generations after him, especially with Art. The same way Vladek was forced to be highly resourceful, Art was forced into the same strict environment when around his father. The qualities Vladek possessed not only were passed down to his son, but strained the relationship between…show more content…
Although Vladek dreads reliving his past for Arts benefit, he does so in order to attempt a connection with his son. Vladek’s reluctance to talk to Art about his history and the war is understable for Art, because he feels the same way about his own mother’s suicide. Art feels anger, guilt, and depression when remember a part of his past, and therefore becomes patient with his father. Vladek tries to literally erase some of his past memories when he destroys Anja’s personal diaries. He hates reliving his Holocaust memories because in his eyes it is the root of most of his issues. However, it seems to be a part of Vladek’s personality to hold on to things not only material items, but also mental when he expresses his racism against African- Americans after being robbed by one. We end up learning of Mala’s own survival story, and although she endured similar hardships to those Vladek faced, she seems to not have been as affected by the Holocaust. Like Mala, Anja too is not filled with the bitterness and anger Vladek has towards the

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