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Lindsey Bell

Graphic Novel, Pr.Cooper


4 March 2009

             Looking at the available topics that have come to mind from the selection of works both ahead of us within the class and the readings we have already done I have decided to look at survivor stories in the era of world war two. Yes this is a very narrow topic though it is also a broad topic in if not centralized within the time frame.

               I am anticipating looking at Mause and another graphic novel entitled Berlin. Both of which I understand are about surviving World War Two in a different way. Having had some experience with reading Mause I hope to open up the concept of a survivors tale to see how others portray their experience.

               Through the essay I hope to look at the narrative of the images and story line.
How do they portray the divisions in the war? What kind of impact do they make by using the Graphic Novel medium in contrast to the novel or the other mediums that have been used?  How do they show the devastation and impact that the experience has caused?

               As I have said with experience reading Maus once before I can find examples of these questions pretty easily though I would like it opened up to others within the same concept and time frame.

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  1. Anything that gives you the excuse to write about Maus can't be all bad, and although I'm not familiar with Berlin it seems to be a good pairing.  You also might want to check out Tatsumi's Good-Bye and Guibert's Alan's War -- both covering the period you mention.  Another way to augment your topic beyond a comparison & contrast would be to look at other WWII memoirs that break from the straightforward and/or heroic mode, such as Kurt Vonnegut's novel Slaughterhouse-Five. Perhaps there's something here about whether "realism" is an accurate way to portray war.  Your emphasis is not exactly the same, but Dara Aber-Ferri's project has some similarities with yours.  I feel like your top priority is to expand your vocabulary for discussing Spiegelman, et al. -- whether that involves learning a little more about the theory of  autobiographyor an expanded range of texts/historical materials.  Hard for me to say more at this point w/o feeling like I'm defining the project for you; how about checking in once you get a little further on?

  2. Unknown User (mgb4)

    Stories of survival from this era are of particular importance in that the number of still-living survivors of course gets smaller and smaller as time goes by--therefore, this is a topic both of merit and historical significance.  Personally, I think the number of firsthand accounts in existence should play an important role in your research, especially given the great emphasis placed on these accounts by not just Jewish and not just German advocacy groups, but those interested in the importance of this history for future generations.  The old adage of those without a knowledge of history being doomed to repeat it certainly comes to mind.

    I know there was at some point in the English Department curriculum a course on Modern Memoirs--maybe building on that course's syllabus would be of help.