Abraham Rubin: Comic Books and Judaism: The Jewish Experience in the Graphic Novel

Write a one- to two-page response to one of the following questions:

1. Do you think the comic book form, as opposed to prose fiction, film, or history, changes the way we conceive of issues central to modern-day Judaism, such as tradition, family, and morality? To support your answer, give examples based on our class readings.

2. Discuss Art's relationship to Vladek in Maus and the importance of this relationship to some of the overarching Shoah themes we talked about in class.

3. Crumb's Kafka stories present a very bleak vision of the law and society. Besides the Kabbalistic underpinnings we spoke about in class, can you think of what relationship these stories might have to Kafka's Judaism, or your own?

4. Both The Rabbi's Cat and Maus have animal protagonists. Why do you think that is? What is achieved by presenting talking animals rather than humans? Is this just a gimmick to catch our attention, or do the animal characters complement the main ideas these works try to convey? Keep in mind that this is far from a new convention and that at least since the time of Aesop's Fables in the seventh century BCE, people have been using animals to tell stories that have human morals.

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