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Maus II: A Survivor's Tale: And Here My Troubles Began - The Story Behind the Pulitzer Prize-Winning Graphic Novel by Art Spiegelman


Maus II: A Survivor's Tale: And Here My Troubles Began - A Graphic Novel Review




If you are looking for a powerful and moving graphic novel that explores the horrors of the Holocaust and the aftermath of trauma, you should read Maus II: A Survivor's Tale: And Here My Troubles Began by Art Spiegelman. This is the second and final volume of Spiegelman's acclaimed Maus series, which tells the story of his father Vladek, a Polish Jew who survived Auschwitz, and his own relationship with him as a second-generation survivor. In this article, I will review Maus II and explain why it is a masterpiece of graphic literature that deserves your attention.




Maus Ii A Survivors Tale And Here My Troubles Began.pdf



Introduction




What is Maus II and why is it important?




Maus II is a graphic novel that was published in 1991 as a sequel to Maus I: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History (1986). Both books are based on Spiegelman's interviews with his father Vladek, who died in 1982, about his experiences during World War II as a Polish Jew. The books also depict Spiegelman's own struggles with his identity, guilt, and depression as the son of Holocaust survivors.


Maus II is important because it is one of the first and most influential graphic novels that deal with the Holocaust. It has been widely praised by critics and readers for its artistic innovation, historical accuracy, and emotional impact. It has won several awards, including the Pulitzer Prize Special Award in 1992. It has also been translated into many languages and taught in schools and universities around the world.


What are the main themes and messages of Maus II?




Maus II explores several themes and messages that are relevant to our understanding of the Holocaust and its consequences. Some of these themes are:



  • The persistence of trauma and memory. Maus II shows how the trauma of the Holocaust affects not only the survivors but also their children and grandchildren. It also shows how memory can be distorted, suppressed, or manipulated by different factors, such as guilt, shame, denial, or pride.



  • The complexity of identity and belonging. Maus II shows how the identity and belonging of the Jews were challenged by the Nazis, who tried to dehumanize them and strip them of their rights and dignity. It also shows how the identity and belonging of the second-generation survivors were influenced by their parents' stories, their own experiences, and their cultural backgrounds.



  • The power of storytelling and art. Maus II shows how storytelling and art can be used as tools to cope with trauma, to preserve history, and to express emotions. It also shows how storytelling and art can be problematic, as they can create ethical dilemmas, such as how to represent the unrepresentable, how to balance truth and fiction, and how to respect the victims and the survivors.



How does Maus II use graphic novel techniques to tell its story?




Maus II uses graphic novel techniques to tell its story in a unique and effective way. Some of these techniques are:



  • The use of animals as metaphors. Maus II uses animals to represent different ethnic groups, such as mice for Jews, cats for Germans, pigs for Poles, dogs for Americans, and frogs for French. This technique helps to create a visual contrast between the oppressors and the oppressed, to emphasize the absurdity and cruelty of racism, and to challenge the stereotypes and prejudices that fuel hatred and violence.



  • The use of different styles and colors. Maus II uses different styles and colors to distinguish between the past and the present, the reality and the fantasy, and the personal and the collective. For example, the past scenes are drawn in a realistic and detailed style with black-and-white colors, while the present scenes are drawn in a simplified and cartoonish style with gray tones. The fantasy scenes are drawn in a surreal and distorted style with bright colors, while the collective scenes are drawn in a documentary and factual style with muted colors.



  • The use of frames and panels. Maus II uses frames and panels to create a sense of rhythm, movement, and tension in the story. For example, the frames and panels vary in size, shape, and position depending on the mood, tone, and pace of the scene. The frames and panels also break or overlap at times to create a sense of continuity or disruption in the narrative.



Summary and analysis of Maus II




Chapter One: Mauschwitz




Vladek's life in Auschwitz




In this chapter, Vladek continues his story from where he left off in Maus I. He describes his life in Auschwitz, the notorious Nazi death camp where he was imprisoned for about a year. He tells how he survived by using his skills, luck, and connections to get food, clothes, work, and protection. He also tells how he witnessed and endured unimaginable atrocities, such as starvation, disease, torture, murder, and cremation.


Art's relationship with his father




In this chapter, Art also shows his relationship with his father in the present. He shows how he is frustrated by his father's stinginess, stubbornness, and racism. He also shows how he is conflicted by his father's expectations, demands, and criticisms. He feels guilty for not being a good son or a good listener. He feels angry for not being able to understand or relate to his father's suffering. He feels helpless for not being able to help or heal his father's wounds.


Chapter Two: Auschwitz (Time Flies)




Vladek's escape from Auschwitz




In this chapter, Vladek tells how he escaped from Auschwitz with his friend Shivek. He tells how they hid in a pile of shoes that was supposed to be shipped out of the camp. He tells how they managed to get out of the train that was transporting them to another camp. He tells how they wandered in the woods until they found a barn where they stayed until the end of the war.


Art's struggle with his identity and guilt




In this chapter, Art also shows his struggle with his identity and guilt as a second-generation survivor. He shows how he is haunted by nightmares of his parents' ghosts. He shows how he is overwhelmed by the pressure of writing Maus. He shows how he is doubtful of his ability to represent his father's story accurately and respectfully. He shows how he is tormented by the question of whether he has the right to tell his father's story at all.


Chapter Three: ...And Here My Troubles Began




Vladek and Anja's reunion and survival




Art's visit to his therapist and his mother's suicide




In this chapter, Art also shows his visit to his therapist Pavel, who is also a Holocaust survivor. He shows how he talks to Pavel about his mother's suicide, which happened in 1968 when he was 20 years old. He shows how he blames himself for not being there for his mother, who suffered from depression and anxiety. He shows how he regrets not keeping the note that his mother left him before she killed herself. He shows how he wonders what his mother went through and what she felt.


Chapter Four: A Happy Homecoming




Vladek and Anja's immigration to America




In this chapter, Vladek tells how he and Anja immigrated to America in 1951 with the help of Herman. He tells how they settled in New York and started a new life. He tells how they had another son, Art, who was born in 1948. He tells how they worked hard to provide for their family and to adapt to their new environment.


Art's reconciliation with his father and his legacy




In this chapter, Art also shows his reconciliation with his father and his legacy as a second-generation survivor. He shows how he visits his father in his home in Florida, where he lives with his second wife Mala. He shows how he tries to be more patient and compassionate with his father, who is old and sick. He shows how he finishes recording his father's story and thanks him for sharing it with him. He shows how he realizes that his father's story is not only his but also his own and that he has a responsibility to keep it alive.


Conclusion




What makes Maus II a masterpiece of graphic literature?




Maus II is a masterpiece of graphic literature because it combines the best elements of both graphic and literary forms. It uses words and images to create a rich and complex narrative that engages the reader on multiple levels. It uses graphic novel techniques to enhance the expression and communication of its themes and messages. It uses literary devices to enrich the characterization and development of its characters and plot. It uses humor, irony, and symbolism to balance the tragedy and horror of its subject matter.


What can we learn from Maus II about history, memory, and trauma?




Maus II teaches us many valuable lessons about history, memory, and trauma. It teaches us that history is not only a collection of facts and dates but also a collection of stories and perspectives. It teaches us that memory is not only a source of information but also a source of emotion and identity. It teaches us that trauma is not only a personal experience but also a collective experience that affects generations. It teaches us that history, memory, and trauma are intertwined and interdependent.


FAQs





  • Q: Is Maus II a true story? A: Maus II is based on the true story of Art Spiegelman's father Vladek, who survived Auschwitz. However, it is also a fictionalized account that uses artistic license and creative imagination to tell its story.



  • Q: What is the significance of the title Maus II: A Survivor's Tale: And Here My Troubles Began? A: The title Maus II: A Survivor's Tale: And Here My Troubles Began reflects the irony and paradox of survival. It suggests that surviving the Holocaust was not the end of Vladek's troubles but the beginning of new ones. It also suggests that surviving the Holocaust was not a happy ending but a painful continuation.



  • Q: Why does Maus II use animals to represent different ethnic groups? A: Maus II uses animals to represent different ethnic groups as a way of commenting on the absurdity and cruelty of racism. It also uses animals as a way of distancing itself from the horror and violence of the Holocaust.



  • Q: How does Maus II deal with the issue of guilt? A: Maus II deals with the issue of guilt in various ways. It shows how Vladek feels guilty for surviving while others died. It shows how Art feels guilty for not being able to save his mother or understand his father. It shows how both Vladek and Art feel guilty for benefiting from their suffering or exploiting it.



  • Q: What is the message of Maus II? A: The message of Maus II is that the Holocaust is not only a historical event but also a human story. It is a story that needs to be told, heard, and remembered. It is a story that affects us all and that we can all learn from.



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