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Uriel A Rosales
English 1302-P28
September 16, 2012

“Prisoner on the Hell Planet a case history” analysis.

The complete Maus is a book that is based on a particular story of a man named Vladek and his experience with the holocaust, in addition to Vladek’s story, the reader well also learns about Artie and his personal experience with his life during the books creation. The character Artie is the author of this book whom full name is Art Spiegelman, and Vladek is his father. As we learned about their relationship Vladek and Artie relationship, Valdek discovers a hidden comic book that Artie had written about his mother’s death which is called Prisoner on the Hell Planet a case history. In the book The complete Maus on page 105 during the section “Prisoner on the Hell Planet a case history” Art Spiegelman clearly illustrates through nine panels on this page, the feelings that he had towards his mother’s suicide. These set of panels have an even deeper meaning aside from his feelings, they also portray what Artie’s perspective of life was at that time and how it changed from that point forward.

In the first panel, Artie mentions that a week had passed since his mother’s suicide. Before his mother suicide he had been trying to get his life back in track, he had been released from the mental instituted and was spending time with a girlfriend he had. Art seemed like he was recuperating from what happened to him but then tragedy struck him again which he explains in this panel. The panel shows Arties in his home. People were trying to comfort Artie, but in his eyes he saw it as them blaming him for her. People couldn’t see how he really felt guilty and that nothing could change that feeling, not even people trying to comfort him. In this panel the character is in a dark room that symbolizes the sadness he felt which is seen in his eyes, dressed in a strait-jacket which symbolizes that he was once again going crazy. The reader can see how Art’s perspective on life had changed once again; he went from a recovering mental person to once again starting to go insane trying to reason why he was in such a difficult situation.

During the next panel there are five different scenes. This is one of the strongest panels on the page. On the very top of the panel, Artie’s mother lays naked in a bathtub, which looks like it is full of blood, and on the bottom is says “menopausal depression.” By the looks of this, Artie is trying to find alternatives to why his mother committed suicide one way may have been because of menopausal depression.

The next section on the same panel is a group of dead bodies which are assumed to be dead Jews, and underneath the bodies it says “Hitler did it.” This made him think of her mistreatment during her time in a concentration camp, which she described as “living hell”. He is trying to reason and say that even though Hitler might have not been successful at killing his mother during the Holocaust, he was in some way successful afterwards. This is due to his mother depression which might have led her into committing suicide.

Then in the third section of this panel, Artie remembers how his mother and him were close when he was younger. The scene shows his mother reading a book to him and underneath he wrote “Mommy!” as a way of saying that he loved her dearly and always thought about her like he did when he was little. Right after this section, Artie’s mother’s hands are shown she is cutting herself as a representation of her committing suicide. Artie wrote underneath it “bitch.” Both the section of “mommy!” and “bitch” seem to go with each other. Art seems to be trying to seed the message that he felt guilty because, as a younger boy he showed love and affection to his mother and as time went by, he basically called her a bitch which might have caused her to suicide.

Lastly, in the bottom section Artie is covering his face while sitting down with his mental hospital attire. It appears that Artie is not all there and that he might going insane. This may be due to him trying to reason about his mother’s death. During the entire panel, the author tries to allow the reader to see how he felt and the reason he thought his mother committed suicide. These were all reason that Art at the time found as a way to comfort himself in order for him not to feel guilty anymore but the reader learns that he didn’t get over it because he published years later the comic series “Prisoner on the Hell Planet a case history” which where all of this panels are coming from.

During these two first panels on the section “Prisoner on the Hell Planet a case history” of page 105 on The Complete Maus the reader not only learns about how much Artie suffered during this time of his life. But Art Spiegelman the author decided to put this section for a reason aside from explaining his feelings towards his mother’s suicide. If the reader can see beyond the story he or she will see that it has a meaning in accordance to the book which is about his father’s story during the Holocaust. The story of Arties mother resembles, his fathers story and the overall story of the book too all in one!
During this section of panels we see how Art is going through a difficult time when his mother committed suicide, in a way it represents his parent’s hardships during the holocaust as his father had explained to him through this book. The connotation of this book itself, Vladek’s story, and Arties story are all one, they’re about the continuing strive for success even if the world seemed to be coming down on them. We see this the most during this section, how Artie had just came out of a mental hospital which meant he went through a struggle and was recovering, all to come home to an even bigger struggle which was his mother’s death. This can be seen also when, Vladek was a poor man at begging of his story, later sought out for success through his father-in-law’s business and accomplished success, all for him to get everything taken away because of the Nazis. Than we see it once again, when Vladek and his wife finally escape Hitler’s conncertation camp, better themselves through many hardships, but once again fall because of Anja’s suicide. By seen the bigger picture, we see how Art Spiegelman the author, had his struggle with his mental sickness, went through hardships because of his mother’s suicide, and later on in the book we find out also about his father’s death, but he didn’t give up and he continued to strive for success which he accomplished through the publication of The Complete Maus one of his many books published.

Spiegelman, Art. The Complete MAUS. 25th ed. Vol. 1. 2. New York: Pantheon, 2011. Print. Anniversary Edition.

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