Maus

In all the book Maus gives us an understanding of World War II and the Holocaust through the individual eyes of Vladek Spiegelman. His son Artie takes all his information from his stories to write and publish a book about his hardships during the time. A major topic in this comic is the use of animals instead of human beings as the characters in the story. I believe Art uses this to some what dehumanize the horrible holocaust stories so that it does not offend some readers that might take offense to the graphics presented. He uses mice to represent the Jews and in correlation he portrays the Germans as cats. I believe he does this to show the relationship between the two during Word War II and the Holocaust. The Nazis literally oppressed, treated and did off with the Jews like vermin. One example can be seen in the book by Vladek’s describing of the gas chambers. He described it by saying, ” The biggest pile of bodies lay right next to the door where they tried to get out”. The fact that Artie’s novel is a comic and it show pictures related to the scene depicted above and also more gruesome acts, it was in his best interest to use animals instead of actual human to ease the feelings of the readers. He uses animals also to represent more ethnicites. I dont believe the animals he chose for the others were signifigant and that they were just fillers for the story. The book however uses human images on certain situations either to show real life photos or potray the authors feelings to difficult situations, which is some ways ironic.

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3 thoughts on “Maus

  1. Very true that the story is personally through the eyes of Vladeks’s eyes seeing as how he was there. However we are not for certain that he is a reliable source, but since certain parts of the story we know are true we can’t discredit it either. Also since Artie did dehumanize the people by making them mice and other animals it doesn’t seem quite as intense as other versions of the holocaust. It was very interesting to see the holocaust how Artie saw it from Vladek’s experience. The pictures of real people as mice I thought were very weird. Over all this book was a good read and the visuals are not as violent as others in history books which means that kids can read this book and not feel scared or anything over it. Children could be reading this and not even know that they are learning. They would be entertained thinking that it is just another comic book, therefore this book can go to people of all ages and is a great history lesson along with good story between father and son. It is unbelievable that something like this could happen especially to people. The graphic novel really puts things into perspective.

  2. I agree with your portrayal of the book Maus. I like Art’s use of the animals as his character as I believe it allows for a certain amount of detachment from the tragedy that was the Holocaust. The author allows us to see the Holocaust as a process,the steps taken to seperate the undesirables from a huge portion of Europe. It’s interesting how the use of a comic format can so dramatically change our view of this subject, we’ve all studied the Holocaust and probably have read a couple of novels throughout our English classes but most likely we’ve done so without really allowing ourselves to understand and let sink in the reality of the situation. It is so much easier to turn off the idea of the mass murder of millions of people because for the most part we have no personal connections. So this book allows us to take in depth looks without wanting to run out of the room and think of anything else.

  3. I agree… using animals to help create immediately understandable relationship between the Jews and Nazis was Artie’s most intelligent idea. Seeing mice get killed and hunted is not as horrifying as seeing people treated like they were. Very seldomly are humans shown in real life so that the reader never too easily lost sight of the fact that they were really human in real life.
    I really like that Artie never showed in depth the horrible carnage and deathly tales that went on during those times. The harsh realities of the gas chambers aren’t expanded upon and therefore the reader feels no personal pain reading the story.
    I guess I would disagree with you statement that the other animals were used as just filler. Take the cop for example; he is portrayed as a pig. I believe that the pig signifies that he is lazy and takes more than is fair.

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