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Assignment Essay on Graphic Novel: Options and Procedures

Assignment Description

For this assignment, you are asked to choose one of the options listed below. You will submit, via Blackboard drop box, an outline (on or before 11 Mar. before 6:00 pm) that shall follow the format found on Blackboard under “Sample Formats.”

The essay that you will submit to me in class, hard copy, or in the drop box located in T157, will be 1,300 – 1,600 (5-6 pages) words long. At the same time you submit a virtual copy to Blackboard. This copy will be assessed by SafeAssign for plagiarism. You will be able to read the SafeAssign report.

This essay will demonstrate your ability to analyze a graphic novel incorporating some outside research. You will also demonstrate your ability to create a critical response in the form of an argumentative essay. You will also demonstrate your engagement with the text we have studied in class—Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics—by relying on some of his approaches to your analysis. 

Choose one of the following options: 

Choose one of the following events that is either partially described or alluded to in Maus I. Find out more about the event or place. Argue why knowing more about the event either contributes, or does not contribute, to a better understanding of Spiegelman’s narrative. For each one of these topics, a good starting place is Britannica Academic. Links to articles on the subjects below in Britannica Academic can be found on Blackboard under “Essay #2 Sources”. 

National Socialism (the Nazi Party) – led by Adolf Hitler

oIn your analysis you should explore how Spiegelman portrays, for example, the fear and despair the Nazis created amongst the Jewish population, both textually and visually. In other words, your essay should not simply be a summary of how the Nazis came to power 

The origins of the Holocaust in Germany – Spiegelman (32-33)

Your analysis should explore the early warning signs shown in Spiegelman—visually and textually—and how they correlate to your research.

The invasion of Poland (1 Sep 1939) – Spiegelman (47-49)

This should especially focus on the experiences of Vladek on the Front and as a prisoner-of-war.

Warsaw Ghetto Uprising (1943) – Spiegelman’s father alludes to the ghetto they lived in (105)

How do Spiegelman’s texts and images convey the horrors of ghetto life? Support this with your research.

In what ways does Maus show the effects of the past on the present? How have the experience of Holocaust survivors affected them and their families? This should be tied in with the ways that you see that the Holocaust has affected Vladek and Artie. This should not be an essay only about Holocaust survivors and their present-day experiences. Weave in your research with the experiences shown—both visually and textually—by Vladek and Artie.

In Art Spiegelman’s Maus: A Survivor’s Tale I: My Father Bleeds History, the author makes a distinct choice to represent his characters with the heads of different animals. This, combined with the use of the word “tale” in the title, suggests that his narrative takes the form of a fable. Why, do you think, Spiegelman makes these choices? Consult sources (Oxford Reference, for example) for a definition of “fable.” You may want to provide examples of other texts that use the form of a fable to tell a dark story. Any sources read to support your argument must be used only as inspiration for your own ideas

What does Maus do that pure text narratives cannot? How do Spiegelman’s drawings help visualize things words alone cannot show and realistic images may not be able to portray? You will want to rely on McCloud’s text for this option.

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