Tracing Maus Reflection


Remember, I extended the deadline for the Tracing Maus project — you need to have the pages published to your site by Saturday, March 10.

Reflection Prompt

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)?

Tracing Maus Reflection

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.


Contents of my backpack:

  • Laptop
  • Earphones
  • MAUS (1 & 2)
  • Wallet
  • 2 notebooks
  • Pencil case

In my opinion, this assignment was one of the easiest ones due to the fact, that I just took a photo of what is with me on a normal day. I just emptied my bag, found a relatively large space and arranged everything that was in my backpack. I think this photo represents how organized I am because I do not carry with me too many useless things and I am always organized and prepared for my classes. However, I think this photo does not fully represent me because I have a lot of interests that I simply cannot relate to the things I carry in my backpack (for example films, music, photography, etc.) In fact, I did not leave anything out of the photo, therefore, this is just a typical collection of the things that I have in my bag every day.


Photo: by me


Probably the most difficult part of creating this sketch assignment was deciding what to draw and how to chose a story that will fit in just three frames. I spent a lot of time just looking around me and trying to pick one object and write a super-short story about it. However, suddenly I recalled one post that I saw on some website a long time ago. There was a comment “I would do anything for you, I would even step on a Lego!”. I thought it would be funny to use this idea and create a conversation of a couple where the boyfriend proves his love by saying that he would step on a Lego for her. I found the idea of using only 3 panels challenging, but great due to the fact, that it made me think of something relatively creative and not to spend time and space for useless material. Overall, I think it was very engaging and interesting experience.


Photo: by me

Visual Note Taking

For my visual notes, I decided to draw my ARTHIST 102 lecture on African art. It was unusual for me to create a visual note due to the fact, that I am used to writing down just texts. To be honest, I don’t think that my understanding of the topic improved. However, while I was drawing these objects, I memorized some details better as I paid more attention. On the one hand, the process of creating these visual notes was engaging and interesting. On the other hand, I realized that I learn and understand better from my regular notes. I feel that this method of learning may be extremely useful for some students, but, as I realized, not for me.

Sketch 2: Visual Note Taking Assignment

Snapseed 3

Literacy reflection

This essay was a very interesting write as it required me to look at how reading and writing has effected my life. From the ups and downs of reading to a dread of in-class essays I was forces to concisely consider how everything in my life has lead me to my current state of reading. Its a unique experience being able to refinance on my avid 2nd grade reading phase and the transition I made to someone who cant even pick up a book without falling asleep.

Literacy Narrative: Reflection

This was a very tough essay to write.

The overall idea of what this narrative is attempting to say is that writing has been a big part of my life that has evolved from happy stories to real life situations. From writing at a young age, I’ve always found comfort in it, and it has helped me deal with the worst of times, especially in high school. Reading has also helped, but it has evolved drastically from interests in fiction to interests in facts.

During the process of writing this narrative, I had a lot of troubles. It was very strange to reflect on the majority of my life and pinpoint where reading and writing have significantly changed the course of my life. It’s almost surreal. The pre-write helped a ton, however. I poured countless stories, ideas, and emotions into just the pre-write, which made it both easy and tough for the actual draft. The plethora made it seem like there would be many choices, but it became tough when I realize that I wanted to include it all. Having a 750 word limit was an even greater challenge. Even after deleting a large portion of my writing, I was still well above 750 words, making it so that I had to be even more concise with my words.

I’ve learned that I’ve changed a lot as a person. I always told myself this, but I never really had the best evidence to prove this to myself. However, after a deep reflection, I’ve come to understand that I actually have changed a great deal, especially since junior year of high school.

I’m surprised that I’d been writing for so long. I’d always known that I wrote from a young age, but I had not yet connected the dots between my writing now and my writing then.

I hope that everyone can at least appreciate the last question asked in my post, and I believe that we are all still debating within ourselves the answer to that question.


Link to the post:

Literacy Narrative, part 1. Reflection

My Literacy Narrative focuses on how I was growing up and loving (and at one point even hating) to read. I tried to describe every single thought in my head as clearly as possible. However, at some moments it seemed hard to transfer them into this essay. I decided to use the freewriting exercise and it made the process of writing this narrative much easier and faster due to the fact, that I was forming my essay by putting together all these pieces created separately (answers to the questions from freewriting exercise) into one big picture. When I finished writing the essay and began adding the picture that I took during the winter break when I went back home, I started reading my narrative again from the beginning and came to the conclusion, that what seemed difficult to start turned out to be an enjoyable and great experience.


Literacy Narrative Reflection

In my literacy narrative, I compare the positivity I have experienced with writing and the setbacks I have had in my history with reading.  Though I have always been a dedicated student, I have learned that needing extra help in a single subject area is something to accept.

Since I have had a similar assignment in the past, I knew I wanted to just go more into depth.  Having the pre-assignment prompts allowed me so include details that I otherwise would not think to.  This assignment was the first time I have put into words how I actually felt with the extra reading program I attended in first grade.  I was able to actually ponder how this made me feel in the past compared to what it means to me now.

Literacy Narrative Reflection Post

Cartoon of Alison Bechdel reading Virginia Woolf

Once you have published your literacy narrative as a page on your site, you’ll need to publish a post about the narrative that links to the page. That post serves three fundamental functions:

  • it provides a compelling preview of your narrative that summarizes the controlling idea of your narrative in a sentence or two;
  • it reflects on what you have learned in the process of writing your technology literacy narrative;
  • when your post syndicates to the class site, that constitutes turning in your narrative.

Some questions to consider in your reflection:

  • What was your writing process for this narrative like? Did it feel strange for you to do the freewriting exercise first? How did the freewriting influence the essay you eventually wrote?
  • What did you learn about yourself by the end of writing your narrative? Was there anything that you found surprising, or something about yourself that you came to view differently in the process of writing this essay?
  • What sentence from your essay do you think someone else reading it would identify as the most interesting sentence?
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