When I was thinking about the pages that I chose for this assignment, I could not find any similarities and did not know what to write about. Then I decided to trace the chosen pages and during the process to notice some features that these two pages have in common. While I was engaged in the process of tracing them, I started noticing some details that I’ve never paid attention to before. This assignment helped me to better understand how big the tragedies were for Vladek and how they left a deep scar on his heart for the rest of his days. The tracing process itself was very unusual but I think I did pretty well. However, it took much longer to trace it that I thought. I spent a few hours on this assignment without even noticing how time flew. Additionally, for me, it was much easier to present my ideas in chunks like this, instead of writing in a more traditional format. However, I do not feel that this assignment helped me to get in on this secret language.
Overall, I highly enjoyed tracing and annotating pages and then linking the ideas between them.
Photo: scanned from Maus’ cover page
At first glance of the Tracing Maus assignment, I was immediately overwhelmed. I was intimidated by the several parts and steps that I had to take in order to create this project. I didn’t fully understand how all of these pages would become a cohesive assignment and I didn’t have a vision for what to do and what to say. I was able to realize that I just needed to take a deep breathe and go step-by-step. The first stage of choosing the page was challenging for me. I didn’t want to choose pages that were the obvious choice or just laid it all out there. I wanted to dig deep to find the hidden overarching messages that Art dispersed throughout the novel. Once I chose my two pages and started to analyze them, I couldn’t stop. It almost became a game of eye spy to me, I wanted to reveal more and more of the symbolism embedded within the graphics of the novel. I also had a lot of fun finding and creating pictures to go along with the text. Overall, I’m happy with my finished product and really enjoyed this project. Through this process I gained insight into how much work and thought goes into creating a graphic novel.
Remember, I extended the deadline for the Tracing Maus project — you need to have the pages published to your site by Saturday, March 10.
Once you have completed your Tracing Maus project and published the pages to your site, you need to publish a reflection post as well. The post serves to turn the project in when it syndicates to the class site, and is also an opportunity for you to explain your process in the work you just completed.
Your reflection post should link to the landing page for the project and should address the following questions:
- Before writing your essay, you went through a pretty involved process of tracing and annotating two pages from the book. Briefly explain what that process was like for you — probably this was very different from most other writing you’ve done, so try to explain what was useful about the process for you. What productive thoughts or analysis occurred through the act of tracing and annotating?
- For this assignment, instead of writing a linear alphanumeric text you created a series of interlinked pages based around patterns you identified while tracing and annotating pages. How did your writing process change to address this assignment? Did you find it useful to write about ideas in chunks like this, instead of in a more traditional thesis-driven linear format?
- We talking in class about Spiegelman’s reference to the “secret language of comics” as indicating that the writer/illustrator make a whole series of choices in crafting a comic that probably pass by many readers with little or no conscious notice. Do you feel that this assignment helped you to get in on this secret language? Do you understand Maus better after having written this project? What’s the single biggest insight you gained about the book that you gained during the process of tracing, annotating, and analyzing these pages (maybe something you “knew” on some level before you started but that you really get now, or maybe something you hadn’t really noticed until you worked on the project)?
I was initially extremely overwhelmed by the tracing, annotating, analyzing, and writing that is involved with this project. I kept putting off starting my two tracings because I did not know how to narrow the whole first book down to one page. I knew once I did that I would have to do the same task for the entire second book except with the addition of finding a connection to my first page. I almost gave up and thought I would just flip through the book, land on a page, and somehow figure out some analytical connections to make. But, I suddenly remembered the Parsha Truma page that stuck out to me when we read “Maus” chapter by chapter. Plus, after going over the page with the pile of Vladek’s photo memories in class so extensively, I realized how much I had to say about it. As I traced each page slowly and patiently, the little details about precise flow, adequate image, and much more stuck out to me. This made annotating easy. The hard part was picking just three main ideas to write about as so many details I noticed were splattered across my scanned traces. I purposefully picked broad connections to dive into so I could incorporate many parts and because of how lose my connections between the two pages were. It was a challenge to get diverse ideas on completely different pages of the series to come together in one concise manner. Looking back on the project, I am happy I started it so far in advance allowing the prompt to soak in and my thoughts come together before submitting my final product.