Identity, According to Artie Spiegelman

Topics: Maus, Jews, Graphic novel Pages: 4 (1461 words) Published: February 19, 2014
The story of MAUS is one about the Jewish struggles and loss of identities during the Holocaust. During the Second World War, Jews were stripped of their homes, businesses and identities, leaving them with nothing but their moral values. What happened to follow was equally as terrifying, for they lost everything during these years, and once it was over they all had to start from the ground up. Artie Spiegelman is the author of MAUS, and the son of Vladek Spiegelman, a Holocaust survivor. Artie depicts very real accounts told to him by his father, many audiences were shocked at “…Spiegelman's goal of rendering his father's story exactly, warts and all, to make it more truthful, more recognizably human…” Reilly wrote in a 1986 review of the novel. For Artie, growing up with his father was very difficult at times as Artie always felt unknowledgeable and intimidated by what his parents had gone through during the years of the Holocaust. For many Jews, living in the shadow of what they were taught but had not lived first made them feel ‘less worthy of being Jewish’. There are some interesting ways in which this is portrayed in the graphic novel. Through the use of his animations, self-narrative and survivor’s guilt, Artie’s struggles with identity and self worth are depicted.

Following his father’s passing, Artie struggles with the second half of the graphic novel. He does not know how to continue the tale of his family without his father’s aid. Artie feels like less of a ‘mouse’, and is not sure where he fits in the greater scheme of things within his relationship to Judaism. At the beginning of the second book, when the reader finds out about Valdek’s death, Artie is seen sitting at his animation table with a mouse mask on, and human body features. He considers himself not to be a real mouse, un-able to relate to his parent’s experiences through something as life changing and traumatic as the Holocaust. On many levels, Artie finds himself to be inadequate,...

Bibliography: 1. Spiegelman, Art. The Complete Maus. New York: Pantheon, 1997. Print.
2. Reilly, Janet. "Institute for Historical Review." Maus: A Survivor 's Tale (review). The Journal for Historical Review, 1986. Web. 09 Apr. 2013. .
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