The Importance of Feelings

In book 1, we mostly get a vague picture of how Vladek was feeling during the time of the war, but we rarely get any information on how Artie is feeling, beyond just general frustration with his father. However, both of these two things shift as we progress later on into the story. Both Artie and Vladek experience moments in the book where they open up either to each other or to the reader specifically. The “Parshas Trauma” moment in Book 1 is the first real instance where we get a glimpse into Vladek’s feelings, although this revelation isn’t too profound. Screen Shot 2018-03-07 at 11.05.03 PM.png

However, in book 2 we learn that Art has started visiting a therapist to help him deal not only with the pressure of his father’s death but with the mounting fame and pressure coming from the release of book 1. We get a glimpse into the mind of Art and how the concentration camps affected him even though he never lived through them. Almost 43 years later, the camps were still taking a toll on many people, Art included. Art is struggling to cope with the information left to him by his father. He blames himself for not having gone through the camps and not understanding his father, and the therapist explains that his father may have taken out his on guilt on Art to help cope with what happened. Vladek felt guilty for surviving the Holocaust, and takes it out on Art, who then takes it out on his therapist. This progression of guilt taxes Art heavily and takes a toll on his wellbeing. Screen Shot 2018-03-07 at 11.08.05 PM.png

The Evolution of Tone

The transition from book 1 of Maus to book 2 is marked by a significant shift in tone. In book 1 we are just introduced to the characters. Sure the circumstances in Vladek’s life are not the greatest, but they are nowhere near as bad as they get in book 2. In book 2, every fiber of Vladek’s strength is tested to its break point. To emphasize this shift in the narrative, Spiegelman changes the overall tone of the story from one of nostalgia for the past, slowly into a dread and sorrow over past events.

In the Parshas Trauma page, there is certainly room for hope, as Vladek receives a message from “beyond” telling him that everything will be okay, something which doesn’t happen ever again. This message helps keep the tone light as we now know that Vladek will not go through too much suffering right now. A divine being is taking care of Vladek so we as the audience know that nothing bad will happen right now. Screen Shot 2018-03-07 at 10.52.05 PM.png

However, when we arrive at the second book, everything is different. From the onset we know that Vladek has divorced Mala. This clearly took a toll on Art’s mental health, which, eventually after the death of his father and the release of his book, led to him nearly having a breakdown. Even the regular storyline that was always so positive, showing how Art and his father were doing, now becomes a psychoanalysis of Art to try and figure out what is wrong with him. The scene with the therapist really shows Art’s emotional state (more on that in my next post), and it also shows how Art’s current view of the world can impact others as he directly causes the therapist to feel sad about the concentration camps as well. Screen Shot 2018-03-07 at 10.51.30 PM.png

What’s in my Bag?

In Your BagKuru Toga Mechanical Pencils: My favorite pencils. I carry a lot of them because I lose a lot of them.

Eraser: I have to carry an eraser because I make a lot of mistakes. I wish there was an eraser that I could use to fix my hair mistake…

Trojan Condoms: In case I am ever caught in a situation where I have to make a risky English homework, I’ve got these bad boys.

Tide Pods: one of my favorite snacks. Really high protein content and very tasty, so I love them. Snack of Choice

War and Peace: I always carry the book I am reading over the week with me, and this week it is War and Peace.

Infinite Jest: I always keep this book in my backpack in case I need some lower level English reading to do to cleanse my mind essentially. You must be wondering why a college student carries a 4th grade level book around in his backpack. Pick it up and you will see.

Bee Movie: I don’t have to give a reason why this is in my backpack. You have to give a reason why you’re not carrying it.

Nokia Phone: I haven’t charged it since I got it in 2004 and it still has full battery. I carry it because I know that this is one phone SkyNet won’t be able to hack.

15inch Macbook: Gotta get that work done sometimes.

Bear Spray: You laugh. But you never know what could happen. When a bear is mauling you, I will just smirk and wave this can around as I watch you fighting for your life…

The Other 51 Notebook: When I can’t write anymore, I remember that Hamilton wrote the other 51.

Maus Volume 2: In case I must pretend to refer to a page brought up during discussion in English class.

Saga Volume 1: Just another one of the million books I’ve bought because Lin Manuel Miranda read it. If you wanna look like Arnold, you do steroids. If you wanna rap like Lin Manuel Miranda, you read like Lin Manuel Miranda?

Umbrella: Don’t wanna get wet from the tears of my haters.

I don’t really carry things in my backpack and if I do its usually because I actually need them, not because I regularly carry them around. There is not one single item in my backpack that is always there. I sometimes don’t carry my computer around because I just don’t need it. My backpack looks different every day of the week and sometimes it changes from class to class, so this was actually a very philosophical assignment for me because it made me reanalyze my backpack. I genuinely feel like this is more of a writing assignment than writing an essay about myself because it forces to me explain myself at a deeper level through the use of objects that represent me rather than through exposition. Although I may not have actually represented what is in my backpack, I still think that this image represents who I am and what I like because even though some objects are obviously just memes, some of them actually have value for me, like my Kindle, or my pencils, or MacBook, and to be honest those are really the only three things I actually have in my backpack. So if I hadn’t put ridiculous objects in my backpack this assignment would have been extremely simple and boring.

A Matter of Perspective

tryptich complete


Perhaps the most difficult aspect for me was finding a simple story that I was able to tell in just three frames. I had never really had to reduce a story to such a small span of time and was thus a challenge to think of it that way. However, how I did it was think of a punchline at the end that would create some emotion and then build a story around that.

I’m currently in the process of becoming more familiar with digital art so I pushed myself to draw every element in the Triptych. This was also a very big challenge for me but as I got more invested in making this project, it became significantly easier, to the point where drawing the man at the end was easier than deciding how to make sand.

This was somewhat similar to the human document project from last week because I had to find a story with very big limitations on my possibilities and thus I had a starting metric to go by.


Maus Chapter 2

Chapter 2 of Maus explores the idea of how the writer demands a lot from the audience in understanding the meaning of the chapter. It’s our job to connect the sequence of images given to us by Spiegelman and to understand how each and every frame moves the story forward or has something important to say. One of the most important things about making comics is the decision of what moments to include in each frame, and how every action should be covered. Should it be moment to moment, or should it aspect to aspect. This will ultimately change the way the reader understands the text and also how the reader interprets the page so they aren’t just arbitrary decisions.

This can be seen in Chapter 2 by the fact that Spiegelman demands his audience connect to the intensity of the situation, such as when Anja is being chased by a Nazi guard. If we don’t feel the tension and participate in the moment, Spiegelman has failed in telling his story.

This chapter is incredibly important for the development of Art’s character because we have to empathize with him over the death of his father and the pressures of publishing the first book of Maus. Spiegelman forces the audience to participate in feeling Art’s confusion by making Art a little child that goes to the psychologist. In page 44, Spiegelman creates a complete sense of confusion by mixing up the perspective in each frame. We see Art on one side, then the other, then it shifts again, and so on. This disorientation is intent ended to show just how disoriented Art is as well. This is what Spiegelman refers to as the “secret language of comics”. This is of course, not explicit in any way, but in reading it actively you do understand what he was trying to do. Some of the things that Spiegelman was able to achieve would have been impossible in any other form of entertainment, which is what I believe to be the “secret language of comics”.

Red Highlights

Human Document Text

red highlights

fresh bright blood

let him hurt me

Daddy yelled at me at dinner

Mama had said to be careful. 

face unreadable eyes blank

no part of me was beautiful 

I didn't have anything to be so proud of


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