MAUS: A Narrative History of Family and Tragedy

MAUS is the story of Vladek Spiegleman, a Polish Jew who survived the ghettos, persecution and death camps of the Nazi's in WWII. Vladek's son Art, the author of the book and a comic book artist by trade, takes on the formidable task of transforming his father's narrative into a comic book. To do this, he compiled many hours of taped interviews with notes, photographs, outside research and drawings. This information was condensed to give the reader the most succinct version of the story without losing the detail of his father's narrative.

The drawings are simple; the dialogue balloons are not over loaded with information and the two volumes of the book total only 271 pages. Yet, in so little space, Spiegelman is able to capture the incredible scope of the Holocaust as an event through the eyes of one of it's victims. Much of this is made possible by Spiegelmans willingness to allow interpretation by the reader.

This is a non-linear essay devoted to exploring some of the major themes that MAUS highlights. Links within this essay will take the reader to a short discussion of the theme that is named by that link. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list, simply a jumping off point. External links that is links that will access internet sites are highlighted in blue in text of the essay and explained in context. These sites will help the reader to understand the magnitude of this event in history, as well as the excellent ability of Art Spiegelman to tell this unspeakable story.

Comic, Narrative, Literature: The literary nature of MAUS
A Family Affair: The feelings of children of holocaust survivors
Wealth and Poverty in the Camps
Not the Children
American Literary Traditions
Of Mice and Memory: by Joshua Brown. This is another essay on Spiegelman's work. All of the images used in this essay are from Brown's site.