The Best Laid Schemes o’ Maus

The Graphic Novel

March 22nd, 2011

Themes: , , , , ,

. . . ‘an men / Gang [na] agley.

I’ve uploaded several journal articles to the folder in Google Docs. Read over a few1 —during class tomorrow you will choose one to present later in the week.

Here is the plan (with dates!).


  1. Wrap up your reading of Maus.
  2. Skim through the articles in the Docs folder, choosing a few that look interesting (for your group’s discussion and your own research).
  3. If you’ve already finished Maus, begin work on your analysis by reading one or two of the articles and working on your hypothesis.

Tomorrow (Wednesday 23rd):

  1. Read and discuss the articles you skimmed (or read) last night.
  2. Choose one article to read thoroughly and present to the class. You may run your presentation as you wish, but your goal should be to help your audience understand the article (they will have read it the night before) and the place of the argument in the context of our discussion of the work. You will need to cover the following:
    1. The author’s thesis
    2. Clarification and examples of any major points
    3. Examples of the author’s argument in areas of the text not explicitly mentioned in the article (I will have a copy of Maus that you can project, if you wish)
    4. Questions and comments for class discussion.
  3. Write a synopsis (individually) of the article to be turned in the day you present.
  4. At the end of the hour I will let you know which group will be presenting on Thursday.

Thursday 24th–Wednesday 30th:

  1. If your group is presenting, you will have the full period. You may wish to divide the major points in the article among the members of your group, then come together for comments and discussion, but it is up to you.
  2. If you are not presenting, read the article the night before and come to class with a copy. Be prepared to ask questions about the work (for clarification) and comment if necessary (in support or rebuttal).
  3. All should take notes with the development of your thesis in mind, asking questions of the class if you are having difficulty with its formulation or support.
  4. In the evenings you should be reading the article to be presented the next day (or skimming it if you’ve already read it) and working on the outline of your analysis. Let me know when you have finished the outline (shared through the Docs); I’ll give you feedback before you begin your rough draft.

Thursday 31st:

  1. Come to class with a rough draft and works cited for your own analysis. (Google docs is fine.)
  2. You will have all hour to work on it in the lab; if you finish, you should trade with another for editing and support.

Friday 1st:

  1. We will discuss the analyses and reflect on the process, planning for further investigation of the medium in the weeks to come.


That may have been overly specific, but I hope it clears up any questions you may have about our process. Let me know if you have any further questions.

[A copy of this is also in the communal folder in Google Docs.]

    1. You’ll be using several in your analysis, so any work you do tonight can go towards that. []

    Maus Studies

    The Graphic Novel

    March 18th, 2011

    Themes: , ,

    We embarked on our graphic journey last week with a discussion of Scott McCloud’s definition of comics. In this definition, McCloud emphasizes the sequential nature of graphic storytelling, arguing that the transition from frame to frame and the closure necessary to make the narrative complete is what distinguishes comics from other media. For contrast, we read and discussed Robert C. Harvey’s definition in his essay “How Comics Came to Be.” Harvey takes exception to McCloud’s exclusion of single panel comics (especially political and “gag” cartoons), emphasizing the juxtaposition of words and images in his definition.

    Next week (March 21-25) we will continue our study of Maus and the graphic genre in general. Here is the plan:

    Read over the essay “Reading Visual Narrative: Art Spiegelman’s Maus” by Jeanne C. Ewert. I passed these out in class, but you can access a copy in the communal folder1. Write a synopsis of the article (this should be no longer than 500 or so words, due Monday) and read and journal over Maus in light of the author’s claims. Some questions to get you started:

    We will discuss the story and Ewert’s analysis on Monday.

    1. Log in to the Google Docs account you used in my class previously. If you don’t see a folder called “Community Files,” send me an email and I’ll add you to the list. []