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Transcript of Maus II
Unlike the previous chapters in Maus Spiegelman decides to stop the personal dialog, and flashback. He begins the chapter with a meta-narrative which is a third type of narrative. This narrative in chapter 2 involves Art’s doubts about the publication of the book. Also it deals with Art’s lingering feelings of guilt about his father’s death. The meta-narrative is highly imperative to the themes of the book; guilt, and luck.Those two themes will be the main focuses throughout.
In chapter 2 “Auschwitz” Time Flies Art is stitting at a drawing table wearing a animal mask with flies flying around him. He is feeling highly depressed due to the death of his father. Art is also feeling pressured by overwhelming interviews, and those trying to make a profit off the publication of MAUS 2. As pressure builds upon Art he transforms into a small child. Art goes to visit his psychiatrist Pavel to express his doubts about writing the book, Pavel begins to suggest that Art may feel guilty for badly portraying his father in Maus 1. When Art leaves his psychiatrist he turns back into an adult. In the past narrative Vladek is working at a tin shop in Auschwitz. Anja is at another camp called Birkenau. Auschwitz is for camp workers and Birkenau is a waiting area for gas chambers. Anja is becoming extremely sick and the guards treat her horribly. Vladek is able to keep contact with her through a Hungarian Jew named Mancie who is having an affair with one of the S.S. guards hence why she has such high ranking. Vladek always tries to volunteer at Birkenau to see Anja. One day a guard sees them speaking to each other and beats Vladek nearly to death. However Vladek had the strength to recover from the beating. Soon he loses his job at the tin shop and becomes extremely frail and skinny. Vladek's sickly conditions leads him to hide in a bathroom to avoid the gas chambers. Furthermore Vladek works as a tin man once again when the Nazis disassembled the camp. Under the gas chambers prisoners are sent to take a shower but the room is filled with pesticides. The dead bodies are then incinerated. Going back to the present narrative Art tells Francoise that he hops Mala and Vladek will get back together so Vladek won't be his responsibility (Murphy). In the meta-narrative Spiegelman decides to change the nature of the animal metaphor, instead of all characters being drawn with human bodies and animal heads now all characters are drawn as humans wearing animal masks. In relations Art had in doubts about the book’s publication he is now having doubts about assigning distinct animals to distinct races. Spiegelman choice to place all of the character in masks represent that the controversy surrounding race and nationality are simply interpersonal issues that reflect racial prejudices. The masks are used to symbolize how we are all just people underneath the surface and more similiar then we think. On page 41 panel 5, a powerful and revealing image is displayed, Art Spiegelman who seems to be depressed and bothered is sitting at a drawing board on top of a pile of dead Jews. Theis graphic image conveys the lingering effect of the Holocaust. The images also represent how the past is still affecting Art’s present. Even though Art never experienced the Holocaust himself and many years have passed since the Holocaust the tragic events still negatively affect his everyday life (Ivey). Another prevalent theme in this chapter is pressure on page 43 panel 2, Art is displayed as a child. Just like a can it’s taken below the deepest depths of the sea Art is crushed and shrunken under the pressures of becoming a new father, getting payed for Maus I but not selling out and staying true to the accounts of the fallen prisoners of the Holocaust without blemishing Vladek’s name. Art’s discussion with the psychiatrist Pavel reveals Art’s issues with guilt. On page 44 panel 2, Pavel suggests that the reason Art feels guilty is because of his negative portrayal of his father in part one. Another reason is the portrayal of cigarette smoke in the panel which represents how Art contributed to his father’s death by smoking hence why Vladek died of congestive heart failure. Pavel also proposes that Vladek took his guilt out on Art, because he felt guilty about surviving the Holocaust when many of his friends and family didn’t. In the book Spiegelman never directly addresses Vladek’s survival guilt in relation to the way he interacts with Art, but there are obvious signs where we can see this take place. For example during the prologue of book one when Art comes crying to his father, Vladek ignores him and tells him he does not know the meaning of "friends". Also Spiegelman uses other examples in the first novel. Pavel asks Art whether he thinks it is admirable to have survived the Holocaust or not. Pavel suggests that all survival is basically based on luck even though the traits of them individual to play a tiny role in the outcome. Overall it is still based on luck.Examples of this luck is prominently displayed throughout the chapter for example on page 67 panel 6, Vladek hides in the bathroom, because he knows he is too sick and skinny therefor if the guards find him he will be sent to the gas chambers. In relation to that on page 57 panel 7, A guard sees Vladek speaking to Anja which causes him to get harshly beaten. This type of communication could be deadly but Vladek was once again saved by luck. It is luck that leads Art to feel guilty because he is always given another chance unlike many others. Art’s therapy sessions with Pavel also opens up discussions about his father's luck during The Holocaust , which lead to feelings of guilt surrounding Art. On page 45 panel 1, Works Cited "Murphy, Jack. "Maus Study Guide." gradesaver. N.p., January 28,2007. Web. 2 May "Ivey, Jay. samplereality. Wordpress, October 10. Web. 2 May 2012.