CWR4B_MausDraft - 1 Becky Kim Section 1 10/17/07 A Comic...

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1 Becky Kim Section 1 10/17/07 A Comic Book a Documentary? Art Speigelman produced the graphic novels, Maus I and Maus II , which follows his father’s, Vladek’s, experiences during the Holocaust. Maus I is set primarily before the Holocaust and captures Vladek’s life while he is selecting a wife, becoming a prisoner of war and transitioning into the concentration camps. Maus II recounts Vladek’s experiences in Auschwitz, his fight for survival and eventual freedom. In between his father’s reflections of the past, Speigelman includes present day scenes between himself and his father, revealing their unstable relationship. Maus I and II reveal not only the Holocaust survivor’s lives after the tragedy, but how the children of these survivors were affected. Speigelman includes details from the past so the reader can see and read about what life was like during this time for other Jews. On the other hand, Coles wrote an essay describing how documentary work is altered and told from the documentarian’s point of view. He uses two other documentaries to present his examples. One of the examples is Evan’s and Agee’s Let us Praise Famous Men , which is presented as showing the facts and reality as closely as possible in the form of candid shots and overly-descriptive writings. Lange and Taylor’s An American Exodus, is the other example used and is presented as incorporating altered documentary elements such as photos and text to make a point. Coles defines the nature of documentaries as presenting what is witnessed in terms of visuals, hearing and text, and altering the documentary based on the documentarian’s opinions and experiences. From the visuals, text, speech bubbles, and the writer’s opinions, one can determine that Maus is under Cole’s definition, a documentary.
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2 The visuals in Maus represent Coles’ definition of documentaries. Vladek and Anja are traveling in a train to the sanitarium in Czechoslovakia with several other Jews. They happen to notice a small town on the way with a Swastika, a Nazi flag. “It was the beginning of 1938- before the war- hanging high in the center of town, it was a Nazi flag… here was the first time I saw, with my own eyes, the Swastika” (Maus I, pg. 32). In terms of illustrations, the top part of the page is lined with the outside of the train, then from the bottom half of the page one can see the train from the inside with the Swastika waving outside. The viewer can see five other Jews peering curiously from inside the train with their heads tilted toward the waving flag. These images are represented as they are from Vladek’s memory and also from Art’s interpretation of Vladek’s memory because Vladek told Art his story. This page proves that
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This note was uploaded on 05/02/2008 for the course R 1B taught by Professor Lipkin during the Fall '06 term at Berkeley.

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CWR4B_MausDraft - 1 Becky Kim Section 1 10/17/07 A Comic...

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