Analysis of Art Spiegelman’s Maus I: My Father Bleeds History and Maus II: And Here My Troubles Begin

Analysis of Art Spiegelman’s Maus I: My Father Bleeds History and Maus II: And Here My Troubles Begin

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The past and present are two completely different moments, separated by a constantly growing space of time. Though they’re quite different from each other and separated in many ways, there are still apparent connections between the two. In Art Spiegelman’s graphic novels Maus I: My Father Bleeds History and Maus II: And Here My Troubles Begin, Spiegelman integrates the concept of past versus present, most apparent in his relationship with his father. As Artie’s relationship with Vladek improves as Vladek recites his history, the present time and the past begin to blend into each other. At the beginning of Maus I, Artie is oblivious to his father’s rough experience in the holocaust, disconnected from his father and without a solid relationship. However, as Vladek recites his history, Art’s relationship with him begins to improve little by little and the lines between the past and present dissolve. By the end of the story, Vladek and Artie’s relationship has improved greatly and the lines between the past and present are completely dissolved.
At the beginning of the Spiegelman’s narrative, Vladek and Art are completely disconnected from each other. They lack the conventional relationship between a father and son. There is no sense of understanding between the two, as if they had been strangers for their whole lives. Even from his childhood, Art experienced a sort of brutality and lack of understanding from his father, displayed in the small cartoon before Maus 1 begins. In this small comic, Art recreates a moment in his childhood when his father yelled at him for crying about his friends leaving him, shouting, “Friends? Your Friends? If you lock them together in a room with no food for a week then you could see what it is, friends...

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...e fuse of past and present, something which has developed throughout Maus 1 and Maus 2.
By the end of Spiegelman’s novels, his relationship with his father has improved greatly, leading to an amalgamation of past and present. The two aren’t separated as they were before, much like how Vladek and Artie were separated before the retelling of his father’s history. By the end of Art’s experience with retelling all this history that he hadn’t experienced himself, he understands that the past isn’t to stay in the past, but it effects everything in present time, whether its his father’s well being or his fame. The past does mean something, and no matter what it may seem like, the past plays an active role in the present time. The past cannot be forgotten or erased, cannot be ignored or bypassed, and will always be relevant in the present, as well as the inevitable future.

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