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Art Spiegelmans


Art Spiegelmans Maus

Art Spiegelmans

MAUSVolume 1: My Father Bleeds History

Published 1986 Recommended level: Freshman 6 chapters? Supplemental Materials: The Last Days documentary Labels activity w/Quicktime video and handouts Pyramid of Hate activity Grave of the Fireflies film Digital video cameras (required for iMovie project)

Themes addressed: Intolerance Isolation Springboard Activity: Vocabulary:Gestapo The secret police of the Nazi regime in Germany. Parshas Truma The week each year when the Truma portion of the Torah is read. Roh-eh Hanoled A person who possesses the ability to see into the future Wehrmacht The name used for the German armed forces between 1921 and 1945.

Art Spiegelmans Maus

Biographical Notes on Art SpiegelmanTaken from the Lambiek Comiclopedia

(b. 15/02/1948, Stockholm, Sweden)Arthur Spiegelman was born in Stockholm, Sweden, and immigrated to the United States with his parents in his early childhood. Spiegelman studied cartooning in high school and started drawing professionally at age 16. Despite his parents wanting him to become a dentist, Art Spiegelman majored in art and philosophy at Harpur College. After leaving college in 1968, he joined the underground comix movement. The following decade, Spiegelman became a regular contributor to various underground publications, including Real Pulp, Young Lust and Bizarre Sex. Under a variety of pseudonyms like Joe Cutrate, Skeeter Grant and Al Flooglebuckle he drew creations such as 'Ace Hole, Midget Detective', 'Nervous Rex', 'Douglas Comics' and 'Cracking Jokes'. In 1975, he and Bill Griffith co-founded Arcade, an influential comix revue with artists like Robert Crumb, S. Clay Wilson and Justin Green. Besides his cartooning career, Art Spiegelman edited several comix magazines. In 1980, he started the magazine Raw with his wife Franoise Mouly. In the pages of Raw, Spiegelman helped reveal important American talents like Mark Beyer, Chris Ware, Dan Clowes, Charles Burns, David Mazzuchelli, J. Otto Seibold, Kaz and Jerry Moriarty, as well as artists from foreign shores such as Ever Meulen, Pascal Doury, Jacques Tardi and Joost Swarte, among others. With the publication of 'Maus' in Funny Animals in 1972, Spiegelman's career really took flight. 'Maus' was based on the experiences of his parents as concentration-camp survivors. He expanded this premise into a full-blown graphic novel, which he drew from 1980 to 1986, with the Jews presented as mice and the Germans as cats (the Katzies). The book 'Maus: A Survivor's Tale', earned Spiegelman fame. He completed the tale in 1991 with 'Maus II: From Mauschwitz to the Catskills'. Art Spiegelman received the Pullitzer Prize in 1992. In the 1990s, besides his illustration work for books such as 'The Wild Dance' and covers for The New Yorker, Spiegelman has used his editorial skills to put together the children's magazine 'Little Lit', containing comics for children and adults. Apart from the contributing members from Raw, this series contains work by artists outside the comics field, such as William Joyce, Maurice Sendak, Ian Falconer, Marc Rosenthal, Claude Ponti, David Macaulay, Barbara McClintock and Harry Bliss. In the wake of the disaster of 11 September 2001, which happened around the corner from where he lives (Greenstreet/Canalstreet), Spiegelman is making graphic novel about the terrorist assault on the World Trade Center in new York.

Art Spiegelmans Maus


Characters:Art Artie Spiegelman: Art narrates the story, drawing on interviews with his father regarding his experiences in World War II and, eventually, Auschwitz. Arts relationship with his father is strained at times, but ultimately the two share a monumental bond, strengtrhened by the sharing of Vladeks story. Vladek Spiegelman: Arts father and the true protagonist of the story. Vlad converses with his son, often stationed on his excercise bike, narrating the details of his experiences throughout the war. He is a cantankerly old man, stubborn and miserly at times, but very lonesome. Franoise Spiegelman: Arts wife. Anja (Anna) Zylberberg-Spiegelman: Vladeks first wife. She survived internement in the concentration camps but later committed suicide while Artie was still a child. Richieu Spiegelman: Vladek and Anjas first child. He is sent to _____ with the _____ to escape the camps but does not survive. Mala: Vladeks second wife and a survivor of the holocaust as well. Though she looks after Vladek and keeps the house up for him, the two clearly are at odds with one another, Mala believing that Vladek is too stingy with his money. She eventually leaves him, taking a large part of Vladeks fortune with her. Lucia Greenebrg: Vladeks lover prior to his meeting Anja Orbach: A family friend of the Spiegelmans who agrees to claim Vladek as his relative when he is released from the P.O.W. camp. Mr. Ilzecki: A former customer of Vladeks who purchases smuggled textiles from Vladek during the occupation.

Art Spiegelmans Maus

CHAPTER 1/The ShiekSummary of events: Art goes to Rego Park to see his father, whom he acknowledges he is not that close with; the two have not seen each other in nearly two years (10) While Vladek rides his stationary bike, Art implores him to tell him about his past, wishing to write a book about his fathers experiences (12) Vladek begins his tale, detailing his life as a young man in Czestochowa working in textiles (12-13) Vladek was involved with a woman named Lucia until introduced by his cousin to Anja Zylberberg (14-15) After meeting Anja, the two strike up a relationship corresponding via phone and letters; Lucia was not amused (16-17) At the end of 1936, Vladek moved to Sosnowiec and shortly thereafter he and Anja were married (19) Vladek backtracks momentarily to recall a moment in which Lucia pleads with him to stay with her instead of going off with Anja. In retaliation, Lucia sends a note to Anja, warning her of Vladeks promiscuous lifestyle (20-21) Vladek immediately goes to see Anja to clear his name and reputation (21-22) The chapter ends with Vladek telling his son not to include the parts of his story about Lucia in his book; they are too private. Art argues that it adds depth to his story but promises to keep it out (22-23) Pre-reading questions: 1. What might the title of this chapter be referring to? Post-reading Questions: 1. 2. 3. 4. Based on the first page, how would you characterize Arts father, Vladek? What evidence do you have in support of this? How would you characterize Arts relationship with his father? What leads you to this inference? What might be the purpose of Art including the details about Vladeks relationship with Lucia? At this point in the narrative (the end of chapter one), what do you feel is the central focus of the story? (Think about this dont just assume what its about look for evidence in the text that supports your notion.) 5. Looking at the title of this chapter, The Shiek, who or what do you think its describing? How is this an appropriate description? Points of Discussion:

Postcard of the Great Synagogue of Czestochowa c.1915, which was destroyed by the Nazis on Christmas Day, 1939. The site of the synagogue now houses a concert hall.

Art Spiegelmans Maus

CHAPTER 2/The HoneymoonSummary of events:

Art continues to make regular visits to his father to discuss his experiences (26) He recalls Anja having a communist friend who requested she translate communist messages into German for him; when the police come in search of the documents, Anja hides them with another tenant is the building who is subsequently arrested. (27-28) Vladek considers breaking the marriage, but Anja agrees to withdraw from such activities. In order to assure Vladek and Anja will be able to raise grandchildren in comfort, Anjas father offers to purchase a textile factory for Vladek (29) Vladeks first son, Richieu, was born in October of 1937, though he was not to survive the war (30) Following Richieus birth, Anja fell into a depression; Vladek was to escort her to a sanitarium in Czechoslovakia while Anjas parents looked after Richieu (31) On the train to Czechoslovokia they passed a small town where they witnessed for the first time the airing of the Nazi flag (32) Stories begin to surface between passengers of Jews throughout Germany falling victim to Nazi oppression (33) Vladek stays with Anja at the sanitarium until she is well agaian, but when they return Vladek receives word that his factory has been robbed (36) Anjas father helps Vladek reestablish his factory and things begin to stabilize again, however, riots and antisemitic fervor has started to become a common occurence; still, Vladek opts to keep his family in Bielsko (37) On August 24, 1939, Vladek discovers hes been drafted by the Polish army; he immediately decides to send Anja and Richieu to Sosnowiec (38) Back in the present, Vladek gripes about his eyes and Artie decides to call it a day (39-40)

Pre-reading questions: Post-reading Questions: 1. What do you think Anja means in the fifth panel on page 37 when she says When it comes to Jews, the Poles dont need much stirring up!? 2. On the seventh panel of page 37 Anja suggests for the first time that maybe their family should consider moving out of Bielsko. Why do you think Vladek shrugs off the idea? Points of Discussion:

Nazi soldiers harass a Polish Jew by cutting off his beard.

Art Spiegelmans Maus

CHAPTER 3/Prisoner of WarSummary of events: Art begins visiting his father more frequently in order to continue collecting information for his book (43) Vladek begins to recount his time in the army but interrupts himself to tell about his father putting him on a starvation diet to keep him out of the army (44-46) Vladek resumes his tale of being on the front lines, detailing an experience in which he first shot a German soldier, wounding him at first but then continuing to shoot until the man died (47-48) After two hours Vladeks squadron is overcome by the Nazis taken to a P.O.W. camp where they are forced to work retrieving the bodies of dead and wounded German soldiers (49-50) Vladek and the other prisoners are transferred to a place near Nuremberg where the Jews are separated from the other prisoners forced to do labor (51) After several weeks Vladek and the other Jewish prisoners are moved to a larger P.O.W. camp where they are forced to live in poorly insulated tents while the Polish prisoners are placed in heated cabins (53) Vladek exercises and prays daily, also playing chess often and writing to Anja once a week (54) Six weeks into his imprisonment, Vladek signs on for a labor assignment; he is ordered to make the land level by breaking up large hills and using them fill in valleys (54-56) One night, Vladek dreams his dead grandfather comes to tell him he will be freed from the work camp on Parshs Truma, three months away (57) True to his dream, on Parshas Truma the Jews in the work camp were rounded up and released to their families (58-59) Vladek travels by train through Poland, passing through Sosnoiec and stopping finally in German-goverened Lublin (60) In Lublin, Vladek is informed by Jewish authorities that just two days prior the Nazis had marched a group of 600 released war prisoners into the forest and shot them all (61) The Jewish authorities inform Vladek that they have been able to bribe the Germans to release a number of prisoners into the homes of local Jews to be claimed as relatives; Vladek asks that a family friend, Orbach, be contacted (62) Vladek is released into Orbachs custody the next day, where he stays until he is able to convince a train conductor to smuggle him back into Sosnowiec (64) Vladek first stops at his parents house and finds that his mother is ill with cancer and his father has been harassed by the Nazis, who forced him to cut off his beard (65) Vladek is finally reunited with Anja and his son, Richieu, who is now two and a half years old (66) As Vladek ends this part of his tale, he again grieves the loss of Anja and complains to Artie of Malas greediness (67) As Artie is leaving, he searches for his coat, only to find Vladek has thrown it out, claiming it was too worn out and giving him a naugahyde windbreaker instead (69) Pre-reading questions: Post-reading Questions: 1. How do you feel about the experience Vladek shares on page 48 in which he wounds and then kills a German soldier? Did he have any other options? Is this acceptable behavior during a war? 2. Why do you think Vladek shows the Nazi soldiers where the man he shot was lying on page 50? Why might this be an important moment in the story? 3. What is Parshas Truma and why is this so significant to Vladek? 4. After Vladek is released from the P.O.W. camp, why is he transported to Lublin instead of Sosnowiec (pp.59-61)? 5. On page 64 Vladek is depicted wearing a pig mask (Poles are depicted as pigs inMaus). What does this mean? How was Vladek able to pose as a Pole without being found out? 6. When Vladek returns home to see his parents, he finds his mother ailing of cancer and his fathers beard is gone. What happened to his fathers beard and why do you think this was done? 7. The last several pages of this chapter bring us back to the relationship betwen Artie and his father. What do these panels tell us about their relationship?

Points of Discussion:

Art Spiegelmans Maus

CHAPTER 4/The Noose TightensSummary of events: Artie resumes his dialog with his father, this time with a new tape recorder (74) Back in Sosnowiec, Vladeks family was still well off. Vladek, Anja, and Richieu, along with Anjas parents, her grandparents her older sisters family, and another niece and nephew, were living together under one roof (74) Anjas grandmother complains that she is unable to get many of the ingredients she needs to cook properly, although much can be acquired through the black market, though it is risky (75) Vladek hears from Anjas father that the textile factory, along with all other Jewish businesses, has been taken over by Aryan managers (76) After running in to an old acquaintance, Vladek is able to make some money selling textiles on the black market (77) After witnessing a number of Jews hauled off by Nazis for failure to produce working papers, Vladek arranges to get a priority work card from a friend in a tin shop (78) Over the next year, resources continue to become scarce and the Nazis wantonly take furninshings and other household possessions from the Jews (79) Narrowly escaping a brutal mob scene at the train station one day, Vladek is protected by Mr. Ilzecki, who hides Vladek in his apartment (80) While in hiding, Ilzecki proposes sending their children to a Polish friend where the boys would be safe, but when Vladek returns home and broaches the topic with Anja, she furiously opposes the idea (81)...

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