Throughout Maus, readers feel the grief and loneliness Artie conveys through the use of “Prisoner on a Hell Planet,” which is found within chapter five of the novel. Before this, Artie bottled up his emotions, and hid them from the readers as they slowly ate him up from the inside. Leading up to this, Vladek depicts the Holocaust through the use of imagery as he represents his past while dealing with severe negligence and hatred due to his race.
In the first panel on page 103 Artie is seen sitting there with two of his father’s friends as they attempt to comfort him in his time of need. There condolences are brief and don’t make much sense as the man says, “It’s his fault-the punk!” (pg. 103) As seen above the panel though text, this guy is acting out of remorse mixed with anger and has no one to take it out on so he targets Artie. This stirs something dark into Artie’s head as his thoughts begin to spiral into darkness leading to depression. What eats away at him the most though is the fact that Anna didn’t even leave a note making her suicide worse than death itself for him.
In the second panel, Artie’s thoughts are conveyed from what the man said previously under his mom’s corpse sitting in the bathtub. He describes her reason for death as “Menopausal Depression”, but the reader can interpret that Artie’s thoughts are constantly changing as you look further down the second panel. He then says that “Hitler did it!” (pg. 103) but then insults his mother by calling her a “Bitch”. This shows that Artie can’t come to terms with Anna’s death leading himself to look for some kind of blame which is reflected back on her. This then results in a flashback which is seen in the third panel. In this panel Artie recollects how his mom and him were close when he was more youthful.
Later on, in the next panel Artie’s mom enters the room in a depressed state asking Artie if he still loves her. This continues on in the fifth panel as his mom is standing in front of his bed. Seen by the body language of Artie and his response to his mother which is “Sure Ma!” (pg. 103) he doesn’t really seem fazed by the question. This is highly understandable as Artie’s view on his parents seems different in the beginning of “Prisoner on a Hell Planet” leading up to his mother’s death. Artie seems distant in a way from his parents due to his disliked girlfriend and late arrival home. This contradicts the second panel where his father’s friends are showing a book to him and underneath he expressed ‘Mom!’ (pg. 103) as a method for saying that he adored her beyond a reasonable doubt and consistently pondered her as he did when he was nearly nothing. Under this part though, Artie’s mom’s hands are indicated she is cutting herself as a portrayal of her ending it all. Artie composed underneath it ‘Bitch.’ (pg. 103) Both the segment of ‘Mom!’ and ‘Bitch’ appear to go with one another. Craftsmanship is by all accounts attempting to seed the message that he felt regretful in light of the fact that, as a more youthful kid he demonstrated love and warmth to his mom and as time passed by, he fundamentally called her a bitch which may have made her suicide.
Ultimately, in the sixth panel Artie is covering his face while staring into the distance with his psychological emergency clinic clothing. It creates the impression that Artie isn’t all there and that he may going crazy. At the same time though, Artie released right then and there that he was a big factor in his mother’s suicide by the look on his face. As seen in the rest of the panels, the guilt is carried on as Artie is seen behind prison bars slowly rotting away in jail. These bars are metaphorical though and serve as a representation of the part of blame that Artie feels is directed at himself for his part in his mother’s murder. While he sits in prison, he gives his mother one final goodbye as he rips her apart for leaving him on this “Hell of a Planet”. In comparison to the hate Artie is showing towards his mother he says, “You put me here… shorted all my circuits… cut my nerve endings… and crossed my wires!” (pg. 103) This relates to the beginning of “Prisoner on a Hell Planet” when Spiegelman references Artie returning from a mental hospital, due to the fact at this time in era electro-shock therapy was commonly used in mental hospitals as a cure for patients.
This might be because of him attempting to reason about his mom’s demise. During the sequence of panels, the writer attempts to enable the reader to perceive how he felt and the explanation he thought his mom ended it all. These were all explanation that Art at the time found as an approach to himself all together for him not to feel regretful any longer. However, the reader discovers that he didn’t get over it since he distributed the graphic novel years after the fact the comic was arranged. ‘Prisoner on the Hell Planet a case history’ which was where the majority of this panels have originating from. During these two first panels on the segment ‘Prisoner on the Hell Planet a case history’ of page 105 on The Complete Maus the reader not just finds out about the amount Artie endured during this great time. In any case, Art Spiegelman the creator chose to put this segment for an explanation beside clarifying his emotions towards his mom’s suicide.
All of this relates to the fact that Artie’s coping mechanism for his mother’s death was writing and publishing “Prisoner on a Hell Planet” which obviously, wasn’t enough for Artie. On the off chance that the reader can see past the story the person will see that it has an importance in agreement to the book which is about his dad’s story during the Holocaust. The tale of Artie’s mother takes after, his dads’ story and the general story of the book excessively across the board.
- Spiegelman, Art. Maus: A Survivor’s Tale. New York: Pantheon Books, 19861991.