Maus

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Photographs Symbol Icon
The photographs in Maus can be divided into two categories: interpretations and reproductions. Interpretations are hand-drawn versions of real-world photographs, which translate the images into the comic’s style and replace human faces with mouse heads. Reproductions are real photographs, which are printed in the book exactly as they appear in life — human faces intact. Artie’s decision to use both kind of photographs in his book highlights the way in which writing Maus forces him to straddle the worlds of reality and fiction. Though Vladek speaks of real people and events, Artie does not have access to the visceral realities of what his father experienced. The people and places that defined Vladek’s life in Poland (and his experience during the war) are foreign to his son. Likewise, Artie has no basis for understanding the intense emotions and lasting traumas the war created. In interpreting his parents’ photographs — most of which show relatives who did not survive the Holocaust, and who Artie will never meet — to suit the comic book style, Artie recognizes that his work is an act of imagination, as much as (or even more than) it is an object of historical memory. Though the faces of his lost relatives are accessible to him through photographs, he cannot truly know the people they depict.
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Photographs Symbol Timeline in Maus

The timeline below shows where the symbol Photographs appears in Maus. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 1
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
...talk every day, and that Anja wrote him beautiful letters. When she sent him a photograph of herself – Artie imagines the picture in a sketch, with Anja posing in a... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 5
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
Guilt, Anger, and Redemption Theme Icon
...see. Vladek says he discovered the magazine while looking for Anja’s diaries. There is a photograph of Artie and Anja printed at the top of the first page, next to the... (full context)
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
Guilt, Anger, and Redemption Theme Icon
...is always thinking of Anja anyway. Mala points out that Vladek’s desk is covered with photographs of Anja; she compares these, bitterly, to a shrine. Vladek asks whether she would have... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 1
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
Guilt, Anger, and Redemption Theme Icon
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
...would get along, if Richieu had survived the war. Vladek and Anja always kept a photograph of Richieu in their bedroom, he says, and as he grew older, he came to... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 4
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
...about it. From a shelf in the living room, he takes a box filled with photographs left over from Poland. The two of them sit on the couch and sort through... (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
Guilt, Anger, and Redemption Theme Icon
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
...who helped keep him safe during the war, and lives in Israel. There are no photographs of his dead family members, Vladek says – he has nothing whatsoever to remember them... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 5
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
Vladek is resting in bed. The photograph of Richieu hangs on the wall above the dresser. Artie comes into the room and... (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
...sends her a letter promising to return home immediately. In this letter, he includes a photograph of himself wearing a concentration camp uniform. In his travels through Germany, he tells Artie,... (full context)