Reading response- Maus

The comic book/graphic novel Maus by Art Spiegelman examines the holocaust through the narrative of a survivor’s stories told by his son. The format of the novel is interesting in the temporality of the narrative as it switches between Vladek the father’s stories of his time in occupied Poland and in a concentration camp and present day Artie talking to Vladek. Artie goes over to his father’s house and interviews him about what he witnessed during the Holocaust. Through the switching narratives Maus examines how children of survivors are affected by their parent’s trauma and how the Holocaust has been remembered through survivor’s testimonies.

The choice to write Maus as a comic is an interesting stylistic choice and something the sounds bizarre and almost inappropriate before reading it. The result though is powerful and makes it easier to keep track of the switching narratives. The Jews are represented as mice and the nazis as cats. When Artie interviews his father he often gets frustrated when his dad gives him conflicting stories, or can’t remember certain details, and it illuminates the issue of memory in holocaust testimonies and how Holocaust history can be a blend of documentation and witness testimony.

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