Saturday, October 10, 2009

Questions about Maus

From reading Maus II, I found it strange how Chapter 2: Auschwitz (Time Flies) starts with Art Spiegelman wearing the mask of his alter-ego. I'm sure the reader has already made the connection that Spielgelman is telling his father's story through using mice. My question is why Spegelman decided to put those random panels on pgs. 41-47 in middle of the graphic novel when he could have put them at the end. Furthermore, was there a purpose to exposing his father's death at the beginning of chapter two? I felt it didn't make sense because the story about Auschwitz was still told from his father's point of view in subsequent chapters. This insertion did not seem to fit, was very abrupt, and did not follow the rest of Maus's comic story style. Furthermore, I have always wondered through reading Maus I & II why Artie was so mean to his father. Although the reader knows that Artie is jealous of the relationship between his parents and his nonexistent brother, he still does not have the right to think so negatively of his father. From Maus II expecially, it seems that Artie is very annoyed at his father and does not care about his health. Spielgelman seems to have the wrong impression of his father because from their dialog, his father seems like a very caring and kind person to his son. Therefore, why did Siegelman portray himself in such a negative, cold manner? All I can see that doing is ruining his own image. Let me know what you guys think.


Jason Olson said...

You touched on this already, but why does Art only appear to be wearing the mouse mask at the beginning of chapter two? In all of the flashbacks to when he's speaking with his father, he looks like an anthropomorphic mouse.

What is Art trying to tell the audience by showing his father exterminating an insect with pesticides after speaking about the gas chambers?

Jeselle said...

Hmm...I was wondering about that, too. Throughout the rest of the story, both before and after this point, Spiegelman IS a mouse, not pretending to be one; so why would he put a mask on now? I cannot say I know the answer, but perhaps Art just felt the need to present this part of his story. Since this chapter's theme is in part "time flies," perhaps he felt that this segment fit because so much happened--so much time flew--while he was working on Maus. Maybe this section is something that Art really wanted to get out, but there was no better place to put it in the book, so he chose to place it in this chapter. Out of all the other chapters, it would seem that this particular one makes the most sense since parallels can be made. Many lost hope in Auschwitz and apparently Art was in a state of hopelessness in those couple pages. Perhaps this is just a stretch, but it seems plausible.