My story, your story, our story-- whose story? : "storying" the Holocaust and confronting questions of narrative authenticity and authority through Art Spiegelman's "Maus: a survivor's tale" / by Audry B. Thacker.
Without question, the project of eliciting Holocaust testimony from those who survived the Horror has become an urgent and important undertaking in the last ten to fifteen years, but most people fail to recognize the precarious nature of that testimony and the problems of authenticity and authority encountered by both those who tell the story and those who listen to and interpret it. “My Story, Your Story, Our Story—Whose Story? ‘Storying’ the Holocaust and Confronting Questions about Narrative Authenticity and Authority through Art Spiegelman's MAUS, a Survivor's Tale” seeks to establish that the so-called norms of testimony cannot be universal; that the Holocaust is both an event without a story and a story without an end; that time, trauma and the desire to place unimaginable, indescribable events in the best possible light in order to temper our dismay at the dark side of human nature have colored and clouded the authenticity of testimony; and that the appropriation of Others' stories in the telling of Survivors' own has removed authority—removed ownership—of the Holocaust tale, reducing testimony at times to a testimonial meant to “sell” a particular vision of the Horror. Spiegelman's MAUS is used to exemplify a product of these competing narrative tensions. The struggle between the author-illustrator and his father, the testifier/storyteller, for narrative ownership is detailed, as is their mutual, if unwitting, collusion in the appropriation of the mother's absent tale. While the father-son relationship and storytelling exchange have been discussed to some extent in previous work on the text, this dissertation pushes the theoretical narrative aspect of Holocaust testimony in general, and of MAUS, in particular, further, asking how the interplay of words and memory between two people—one a survivor and one that survivor's child—affects the taking and giving of testimony. The exploration of Anja Spiegelman and the possible roots of her mental illness and consequent suicide is also new, as the dissertation explores her husband's takeover of her self and her womanhood, in addition to his destruction of her literal writing and her figurative story.
Record last modified: 2018-05-18 16:19:00
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