Maus Literary Analysis

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At its core Maus is a story about family. History and heritage play a key role in any family, but they’re especially prevalent in the Spiegelman family. The Holocaust cuts a drastic line through the Spiegelman family and cuts off possibly hundreds of branches off their family tree. Art Spiegelman’s effort in Maus is not only to tell his father’s individual Holocaust survivor story, but also to make sense of his family history that has become mangled by tragedy. Simultaneously, Spiegelman is displaying how his heritage affects the present day (in this case the present meaning the years 1978-1991). In Maus, family history and heritage define the identities of protagonists and continue to impact how they live their lives today. Judaism is naturally tied in with the effects of family history in Maus. Unlike in other religions, a person is not Jewish because they accept some fundamental truth, but rather because they come from a Jewish lineage. Since it is a religion that is based on and emphasizes heritage, the religious and ethnic identity of all Jews, including the Spiegelmans, is tied into their family history. While non-Jewish characters within Maus have the heads of…show more content…
This starts by the present peaking in on flashbacks to the past, such as when Vladek riding his exercise bike in the present seems to pop into the corner of a panel showing a dinner with Anja’s family (V1.74.1). Vladek is quite literally bringing his present self into his family history to act as a narrator and helpless observer to the demise of most of his family. As previously shown, this is something that Vladek actively tries to avoid. He even tells Art that he’s “rebuild[ing]” the memories he had previously attempted to destroy. Despite this the reader sees Art actively trying to bring Vladek back into the story by visually merging Vladek with his family history, making it a part of the present

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