Date of Award


Degree Type




First Advisor

Marino, James

Subject Headings

Spiegelman, Art, Maus -- Criticism and interpretation, Bakhtin, M. M. (Mikhail Mikhaĭlovich), 1895-1975 -- Criticism and interpretation, Sociolinguistics, Graphic novels, Mikhail Bakhtin Art Spiegelman Maus, heteroglossia comics graphic novel Holocaust language voices


According to philosopher Mikhail Bakhtin, the modernist novel is the best literary form to exploit heteroglossia, or the coexistence of two or more voices within a text. It incorporates the speeches of the author, narrators, and characters, as well as languages that are indicative of social status, employment, epochs, and so on. In this essay, heteroglossia is applied to Art Spiegelman's graphic novel Maus to demonstrate that the comics medium is also a prime candidate for heteroglossic exploitation. Voice and dialect are examined in the first portion of the essay, including generational differences between the characters' language, the presence and depictions of foreign languages, and authorial voice. The second portion of the essay applies heteroglossia to the text's visual aspects to explore its illustrative polyphony. This essay established that Maus, as well as the comics medium as a whole, is capable of exploiting heteroglossia