Maus And Traplines Essay

1643 words - 7 pages

In Maus, Spiegelman tells his own story though an array of significant images while trying to gain insight into his father’s life before and during the Holocaust. Henceforth, Spiegelman ultimately acknowledges that his troubled relationship with his father is a direct result of the tragic events his father was never able to recover from post Holocaust. In contrast, Traplines is a story of a family, who is presumably First Nations, however Robinson makes subtle mentions of this within the text. Robinson writes about the struggles the family faces and how drugs and alcohol become a prominent way of dealing with their pain and suffering. While Maus and Traplines are stories that take place in different periods they both explore the repercussions of horrific past events. Under these circumstances, both stories include father-son relationships, which are living in the shadow of the institutional oppression that once haunted them. The troubles they face during the course of the story are directly linked to the agony they previously endured. Spiegelman illustrates the troubles his father faced in Maus I and II, whereas Robinson is very discreet in describing the troubles the family faces. Maus and Traplines both include fragile father-son relationships where there is an extreme lack of communication, which causes ineffective parenting and troubles with displaced suffering that haunts both the generations. Despite its uncontrollable circumstances, historical traumas such as the Holocaust and aggressive assimilation create intergenerational conflict on the children of genocide survivors because for them the trauma never fully subsides.
Spiegelman opens his story in attempt to gain a deeper understanding about the time his father spent being a Polish-Jew during the Holocaust. Art feels that he has been unable to create an enriching relationship with his father because he has been preoccupied by the haunting memories that remain part of him. Vladek, Art’s father often values possession more than people in his life, this is perhaps an underlying result of having to value his good when he was in the concentration camps. Vladek’s second wife, Mala, makes note of this when she says “Vladek is more attracted to things than people” (Spiegelman, 93). Contrastingly, Traplines, Robinson, presumably writes that Will is part of a First Nations family living on the reserves. From this, we adopt the idea that Will’s father may have been part of the Residential Schools as a child. In brief, residential schools were part of the aggressive assimilation policy implemented to educated Canadian aboriginals (Baker). Thus, children were taken from their families and sent to institutions often resulting in them being separated from their family for extended periods of time. Unfortunately, when sent away to residential schools you were stripped of your identity and often returned home a different, unrecognizable person. Furthermore, in an article by Dobson, she...

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