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November 2007 Archives

November 1, 2007

Maus Assumption

Based on the little we discussed in class as well as the title and cover of the first comic, I would assume that this would be a story of surviving through the Holocaust. From what Diana had said about how the first one didn't meet her expectations, I'm also going to assume that the first one won't go incredibly in depth with this. That will probably mostly be the second one. Maybe this one will be almost a prelude to the disaster. It'll be interesting to find out.

November 2, 2007

Everyone Reacts Differently

"Pssh. Why always you want to buy when you can find!?"
~Vladek from Maus by Art Spiegelman, page 116.

In class the other day, we had a discussion about the importance of back stories. I still stick to what I said that they are important but not always completely necessary. I think this comic, however, is a good example of a case in which the back story is necessary in order to fully understand the significance of the vivid details.

Vladek is cheap. In the scene that the above quote is from he picked a wire up from the ground fully intending to use it. Artie doesn't fully understand why he doesn't just buy a wire, but he does figure that it has to do with his past--as he says later to Mala when she complains about how stingy he is. Though Artie doesn't bring this up in the same scene as the one this quote came from, the reader can, by this point, make this connection. Artie's defense to Mala merely reinforces what we already guessed. Vladek's need to find things and make the most of his money when in hiding is what conditioned him to be this way. Mala's argument is that she went through the same thing Vladek did, but she wasn't stingy. If Vladek's analysis of Mala is accurate and not an exaggeration, Mala would be his exact opposite. She doesn't want to have any financial restraint. She wants all of the luxuries that she was deprived of during the war.

These are two people who went through the same thing, yet they reacted to it in two completely different ways. I guess it goes to show that when dealing with situations like this, it is best not to try and fit everything into one nice little neat box. It simply doesn't work that way. Everyone reacts differently. Each case, therefore, must be handled and understood differently. It is best to simply be open minded, understanding, and supportive. Maybe this was one of the author's points in writing this story--in addition to the overall idea of making sure the story is told.

November 7, 2007

Spiegelman Makes Us Care

maus ii.JPG

Maus II by Art Spiegelman

Continue reading "Spiegelman Makes Us Care" »

November 11, 2007

Disappearing Reviews

"A widespread cultural and political illiteracy is abetted by newspapers that no longer review books..."
~"Goodbye to All That" by Steve Wasserman

I can somewhat understand where the concern would come in, but I think it may be taken too far in this article. Just because books are not being reviewed as frequently doesn't mean people aren't reading books. Yes, there may be merit in book reviews, but everyone has a different taste in books. Just because one critic thinks a book is not a worthwhile read doesn't mean that everyone will agree. There will be some people that purposely avoid reading that book simply because of the fact that it received a bad review. They could potentially be missiog out on an excellent read--for them, at least--as a result. Also, not everyone who reads books pays attention to book reviews. I can see where book reviews could be good, but I don't think it's as crucial as this author suggests.

Effective Simplicity

"Maus is very much about the inability of art (or Art) to confront fully or represent metaphorically a monstrous past..."
~"The Shoah Goes On and On: Remembrance and Representation in Art Spiegelman's Maus" by Michael Staub

Even though the art in Maus may not be able to fully confront this "monstrous past," I think it is effective in its simplicity. The artwork is relatively simple but powerful. This simplicity of some of the more disturbing scenes actually helps to make it that much more disturbing. It forces the reader to confront the situation and invites the mind to fill in the details. It is much harder to ignore this way. The conflict between the simplicity of the drawings and the complexity of the situation cause it to almost seem even worse in this understatement than if it had been in full gory detail.

November 13, 2007

What a Great Invention

"It is now possible through the magic of Internet browsing and buying to obtain virtually any book ever printed and have it delivered to your doorstep no matter where you live."
~"Goodbye to All That" by Steve Wasserman, page 19.

As Wasserman stated in his article, book reviews have become scarce. However, in this day and age books are much more readily available than they ever have been before all thanks to that wonderful little invention known as the Internet. When books are available like this, people will have a greater tendency of buying them and, therefore, reading them as well. Also, let's face it, our society is lazy. I know. I'm part of said society. There may be exceptions, but, as a whole, who are we kidding? We've got services such as Netflix, On Demand, and Internet shopping that make it so that we never have to leave our homes to get anything. Since people don't even have to physically go to a bookstore to get a book, they will be more inclined to actually consider getting it.

November 14, 2007


Article, Related to Maus and/or Holocaust Literature

"The pictures lack detail but not depth, the low-definition medium enhancing the deep involvement of the reader."
~"Art Spiegelman's Maus: Graphic Art and the Holocaust" by Thomas Doherty, page 77

This article focused on how the art was effective despite the fact that it lacked detail by analyzing some specific examples from Maus. I happen to agree. I know I already wrote a blog entry on this topic, but this is one of the things that really struck me. There was nothing overly phenomenal about the artwork in and of itself. However, when all of the elements are combined, there is so much to analyze. One example Doherty used was the picture of Vladek and Anza walking along the crossroads in the shape of a swastika. According to the author, this showed that they were "trapped in the frame of the comic and of history."

Blurred Time

Article, Related to Your Paper 2 Topic

"The temporal dimensions of Vladek's story, the innermost narrative, are relatively easy to identify.... (Easy despite Vladek's own problematic experience of ordering a seemingly fractured and unstable sense of temporality during the Holocaust, which then has consequences for his subsequent memory of time. As he says, 'In Auschwitz we didn't wear watches' [II])."
~"No Time Like the Present: Narrative and Time in Art Spiegelman's Maus" by Erin McGlothlin, page 184

This article focuses on the importance of the different time frames in Maus. It covers all different angles--such as the artwork, capital vs. lowercase letters, and Spiegelman's way of dealing with everything. I thought the above quote was interesting because it seems to explain one of the reasons for the blurred lines when it comes to time. When Vladek was in the concentration camps, he had no way of telling time. Time would have blurred together for him. Time is blurred a lot throughout the two books. Maybe this was one way of getting that sense of timelessness across.

November 15, 2007

Source Information

Here's what I have so far for paper 2:

Doherty, Thomas. "Art Spiegelman's Maus: Graphic Art and the Holocaust." American Literature. 68.1. (March 1996): 69-84. Academic Search Elite. EBSCOhost. Reeves Memorial Library, Greensburg, PA 15601. 13 November 2007.

McGlothlin, Erin. "No Time Like the Present: Narrative and Time in Art Spiegelman's Maus." Narrative. 11.2. (May 2003): 177-198. Academic Search Elite. EBSCOhost. Reeves Memorial Library, Greensburg, PA 15601. 13 November 2007.

November 16, 2007

I Wonder...

"with mother finally ******, and the last fantastic book flung out of the tenement window..."
~"Howl" by Allen Ginsberg

In class on Thursday, the topic came up about how there's a segment on a talk show (Jay Leno I think it was) in which perfectly innocent words were bleeped out. I wonder if that's what Ginsberg was trying to do here? If it was a swear word that he censored out, I wonder why he chose to sensor it here when he didn't sensor any of the other ones. I guess this is an artistic way to get the reader to fill in the blanks.

"Visions! omens! hallucinations! miracles! ecstasies! gone down the American river!"

Another thing I noticed in the second part of this poem was that it reminded me of a song from a musical--go figure. It's the song "La Vie Boheme" from Rent. It uses this same listing structure. It even mentions Ginsberg in the song. I have to wonder if Jonathan Larson chose to model "La Vie Boheme" after this part of "Howl." I don't know. Just a thought.

November 26, 2007


"There's always a chance, of course, that they'll change Mr. Kane...without his knowing it."
~Jedediah Leeland from Citizen Kane

I love this sense of foreshadowing--combined with Leeland's wish to hang onto the original copy of the Declaration of Principles feeling that it would become important someday. Kane does drastically change throughout the movie. In the beginning, it seems like others' wishes are more important than his own...as it seems from the Principles. He begins to change once the Enquirer starts to really thrive...once the men from the Chronicle have joined the Enquirer staff. Though they may not have really been the cause for the change in Kane, it does seem like that is the main turning point. After this, it seems like Kane's priorities shift from others' wants to his own wants. It's what ruined both of his marriages. Leeland mailing the original document of the Principles later in the movie was a nice touch. It helped to bring everything full circle back to that moment when Kane first created it.

About November 2007

This page contains all entries posted to JenniferPrex in November 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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