Free «Trauma» Essay Sample


Spiegelman Arthur was a New York based Cartoonist, comics advocate and editor, and he was best known after his graphic novel in 1991 “Maus”. He also worked as a co-editor on the comic’s magazines Raw and Arcade is very influential and spent decades contributing as an editor to the New Yorker from 1992. Further, he also made different types of controversial covers. He was married to an artist, editor and designer Mouly Francoise. In his book “Maus”, the Author talks about an interview with his father on the experiences he had as a Polish Jew and the survivor of Holocaust. In the book, there is the use of postmodern techniques that are most strikingly in the depiction of the human races as various kinds of animals (Spiegelman, 192). The Germans were cats, Poles as pigs, and the Jews were mice.  Maus was labeled as a biography, fiction, memoir, or history, autobiography or the mix genres. In the present, the frame tale timeline began in New York whereby, Spiegelman speaks about his father’s holocaust experiences, and gathering of materials for Maus project he was preparing. In the past, the author depicts the experiences of his father that started years ago and led to the World War II.

How trauma is portrayed in “Maus: survivor’s tale”

The main identity problem in the Art Spiegelman’s Maus: survivor’s tale was that, the author expected to write himself into the family from where the founding trauma was his absence. Further, the author creates his identity with respect to the parents and their experience of Holocaust.

The author recent works on the tale deals directly with the post memorial suffering. He has been publishing most of the installments of the projects review. His materials are related to the Maus and trauma transmission. In more than once, a memorable panel, the sequences that the author reveals when family heirloom is passed to the son from the father. When they un-locked chest, a monster grew up and become larger. As seen in the story when the father replies, “It makes you feel so worthless, but you do not believe you have the right to breath! Just think that someday you will pass it to you son”. The newest work of the author was to imply that the monster or the shadow or diseases will continue growing, and because is hard escaping from it, it had to continue in exercising his demons (Kellermann, 29). As he demonstrate this through examples for they seem to be no sight in ending Spiegelman and working through.,  However, his numerous revisions on the story were to increase the number of repetitive and invasive and memories of exposure and available for the viewers and readers experience.

How does Spiegelman represent traumatic events in the Maus: survivor’s tale?

According to the Author, excess trauma is seen as visible and repetitive images. The unwanted memories continue to traumatize or surface until when a degree of closure is found or achieved. Moreover, when the traumatic memories become intense, they tend to be static, nonverbal, and repetitious.

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However, Spiegelman’s purpose for re-contextualizing may have more to do with personal reasons than with shocking his readers. Hirsch suggests,

“In repeatedly exposing themselves to the same pictures, post memorial viewers can produce in themselves the effects of traumatic repetition that plague the victims of trauma. Even as, the images repeat the trauma of looking, they, in themselves, any restorative attempts. It is only when they are redeployed, in new texts and new contexts that they regain a capacity to enable a post memorial working through”.

It is particularly reward, and complex political narrative was one of the Maus story conveys the horror of Holocaust and ways which the horror ripples down through generations. The part of vastness of Holocaust and it did not really stop with the end of the World War II. Trauma was represented by author by the use of children and the survivor’s grandchildren. He relates his father Vladek’s stories of his life in Nazi that occupies Poland and his survival was in Dachau and Auschwitz, This is as much Art’s as a story as it is a Vladek’s.  According to Spiegelman, he uses two parallel narratives in capturing the multi-generational trauma valence: in one, Vladek’s story depicts a picture of fear and the misery that is associated with Jewish ghetto life and Nazi camps concentration; also, in the other narrative, a meta-narrative on the art of interviewing Vladek so that he could write about Maus, the stories shows how Holocaust continues to affect their lives.

What are the long term effects of trauma according to Spiegelman’s Maus: survivor’s tale?

Spiegelman’s has created more opportunities that elicit trauma effects to the readers who are exposed to his work. As seen in his story, Spiegelman’s had bombarded the stories and with images of Holocaust as a child until when he was traumatized. The viewers are easily affected with his contagious horror.

In the comic books Maus part I and II, the author Art, plans to portray his father Vladek’s type of experience in life as a Jewish survivor during the 2nd world war in Europe. Almost all of the Spiegelman’s father and the mother’s life and the relatives passed on in Holocaust. The author’s father and mother were sent to Auschwitz, a concentration camp where millions of Jews were killed. They were forced to survive starvation and diseases and get through the selection making their way to safety. Fortunately, both of them survived due to luck. Nevertheless, horror of Holocaust also experienced a very stiff affects of the survivors and the psychologies and emotions in daily lives. This resulted to the author’s mother to commit suicide after Holocaust due to torture and psychological suffering she went through. The father still suffers from the painful genocide that affects the lives of the survivors for years several years (Kellermann, 27). Vladek and the authors step mother are survivors of Holocaust; nonetheless, they will never accept one another. The author talks about the son who also cannot live with the father even for some days because of his personality and behavior. The son and father always argue on how their lives and attitudes differ.

According to the author, survivors of trauma cannot cure because Holocaust leaves very deep marks on their minds. Holocaust is one of the biggest traumas in survivor changes and lives their destinies. They had lost everything including their family members, houses, relatives, properties, businesses, jobs, future and social positions (Kellermann, 77). The Nazi deprived survivors of Germany’s happiness, health and also their yearning lives. The traumas always stay deeper in survivor’s heart, and they do not want to refresh very painful memories. After decades, more of the survivors were ready to be speaking out and also openly share their memories and their prevailing mental suffering because of a new social awareness of Holocaust who began to develop in 1960 Eichmann was tried in Jerusalem.

The society was expected to pay more attention to Holocaust and suffering survivors. As a survivor said, “For me, the Holocaust has not ended”. The author states “time does not heal all wound; there are those that remain painfully open". Judith Herman also writes in her book, “atrocities refuse to be buried". Moreover, in the same narrative of Maus, Art's father Vladek, an elderly survivor, always remembers and tells his experiences to the son in a clear manner. On the other hand, the narrative describes the Holocaust like “an atom bomb that disperses its radioactive fallout in distant places, often a long time after the actual explosion" (197). It does not matter how many times the genocide events pass, the survivor’s minds and brains will never erase the trauma in them. Nevertheless, even though the survivors do not talk about the genocide frequently, the Holocaust still affects their behaviors in their daily lives.

In the story, trauma is portrayed as dangerous and cannot be erased easily for many people with it thus suffering internally. The writer explains on how his family suffered trying to find his identity that traumatized both of them. On the other hand, the father and mother were traumatized by the Holocaust and through that the mother committed suicide. The story also touches on the racism displayed when he uses animals to describe the polish, Germans etc.


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