All About My Mother And Art Spiegelman

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Pedro Almodóvar’s film, All About my Mother and Art Spiegelman’s graphic novel Maus, both attempt to make sense of the ways in which trauma shapes families. Both texts portray trauma as a divisive force between parents and children, however the expression of that division is variable. While Maus portrays trauma as purely divisive, All About my Mother demonstrates that trauma can create as well as destroy familial relationships. The two texts reconvene on the idea that the passage of trauma from parents to children serves as a means of recovery from trauma and pain.
In both narratives, distance between parents and children is created because of a traumatic experience unique to the parent. In All About my Mother, this distance is manifested
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Manuela’s withdraw into a vague response and her unwillingness to discuss the trauma and events which are so significant to her and Estebán’s lives highlights the distance created between parent and child through this suffering.
Trauma still behaves as an alienating force in Maus. However, the distance between Artie and Vladek is expressed in the form of Artie’s guilt, rather than insensitivity, about Vladek’s trauma. While discussing his struggle to retell Vladek’s story with his wife Françoise, Artie states, “I can’t even make any sense out of my relationship with my father...How am I supposed to make any sense out of Auschwitz? … of the Holocaust?... When I was a kid I used to think about which of my parents I’d let the Nazis take to the ovens if I could only save one of them… I usually saved my mother. Do you think that’s normal?” (14). The fact that Artie can’t comprehend his relationship to Vladek indicates his lack of understanding, and therefore distance from his father. Spiegelman 's subsequent questioning of how he is to understand the Holocaust and Auschwitz, and his use of the same sentence structure in voicing those questions demonstrates the parallels between these two ignorances and underscores the causal relationship between misunderstanding his father and his ignorance of

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