This sounds like a pro-Nazi response, but in his novel Spiegelman also very clearly portrays the problems of representing a traumatic historical event. Considering how Artie feels the need to draw on resources other than his father (i.e. his mother’s written account), and how he needs the extra space and time to gather his thoughts (i.e. the psychologist, the tape-recordings), the writer/narrator is aware of his own creation of Nazi ‘experience’ from the perspective of the persecuted. In this respect I believe Artie tries to be as honest as he can. He admits he doesn’t know which ‘animal’ should represent Francoise, which suggests that people are harder to distinguish than animals and therefore problematize the representation of characters, roles, and even opposing ‘camps’ in history; he also illustrates, literally, his anger with Vladek (who is labelled a “murderer” at the end of Maus I) and his grief consequent of his mother’s suicide, which alerts the reader that emotions may not be independent of narration, and implicitly exhorts for our discretion.
Perhaps central to the novel is this: Who suffered trauma? Is it Vladek or the narrator we are being led by?
Artie, who was not even born when his parents went through Auschwitz, appears to have a greater problem with the event than Vladek does. Perhaps this indicates a transference of trauma – in light of Artie’s efforts to research and tell a story he did not experience in the first place, it certainly seems as though trauma has shifted from Vladek to his son – which would relate to Caruth’s argument that ‘it is only through [trauma’s] inherent forgetting that it is first experienced at all’. In a way, Vladek and Artie are merely personifications of ‘forgetting’ and ‘reliving’, as Artie frantically searches for a history that was never quite his own.
Image credited to: http://blogs-images.forbes.com/jonathonkeats/files/2012/11/spiegelman.2.lo_.jpg