Unaccepted Nonacceptance

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During Jess Orlowski's presentation for Maus, she mentioned Art's competition with his deceased brother, Richieu.  He never knew Richieu because he died during the Holocaust and Art was born afterwards, but he still felt like he needed to compete with him. Richieu died as a child, while he was still innocent, before he could make any real mistakes. Since that's not the case with Art, he felt his entire life that he could never earn the reverence his parents have for Richieu for him.

This is one of the themes for both Maus I and II. It seems like Art needs his father to accept him, and he tries to find a way to do that by writing these books. It's not that his father doesn't love him; it's just that Art feels like he can't fully be part of his world because he can never understand what he went through.

Jess Orlowski has two excellent blogs on Maus.

If anyone who reads my blog who isn't in my class, I highly suggest reading Maus and also Persepolis. I love historical graphic novels!

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2 Comments

Jessica Orlowski said:

Thanks, Karyssa! I appreciate it. Did you know that Spiegelman wrote a third book? It's not a part of the Maus series, but it does involve his father. It's called "In the Shadow of No Towers," and details the events of 9/11. I can't decide whether Spiegelman mentions his father in this book to present closure, or if he's trying to cater to the future generations because his father failed to do so for him. (I'll be writing my paper on that).

I did read about it while doing research for my paper. I really want to read it.

I think maybe it's a mix of both. He still needs that closure, which he didn't get in the end as we see Vladek calling him Richieu. Unless, of course, that means that Vladek sees Art as the equivalent of Richieu, meaning he did gain that acceptance.

Just so I don't misunderstand you, could you please explain further what you mean by "trying to cater to the future generations because his father failed to do so for him." Thanks!

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