In Art Spiegelman’s Maus and Eden Robinson’s Monkey Beach post memory is explored. Marianne Hirsch defines post memory as:
“Postmemory” describes the relationship that the “generation after” bears to the personal, collective, and cultural trauma of those who came before-to experiences they “remember” only by means of the stories, images, and behaviors among which they grew up. But these experiences were transmitted to them so deeply and affectively as to seem to constitute memories in their own right. (Hirsch 2016)
In Maus, Spiegelman uses a third person narrative to tell the story of his father’s experiences in the Holocaust. In contrast, Robinson uses first and second person to tell the story of Lisa Marie’s family’s hardships due to Residential Schools. Through the use of historical references, relationships and evoking emotion in the reader, Eden Robinson’s narrative better exemplifies how individuals of second generation trauma use the experience of post memory to connect with the reader when compared to Spiegelman’s Maus.
Throughout Monkey Beach the disturbing reality of the oppression of Haisla people is confronted. At the heart of the historical background is the issue of the residential school system, an instrument of colonization and assimilation of First Nations children. Lisa’s cousin Tab summarizes the lasting damage inflicted by the institution, “You’re really lucky that your dad was too young to go to rez school. Aunt Kate, too, because she was married. Just