Analysis of the Efficiency of a Graphic Novel portraying a Holocaust Narrative
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During 1925, Mein Kampf was published by the Nazi Leader Adolf Hitler. In this autobiography, where Nazi racist ideas originated, he depicted his struggle with the Jews in Germany. These ideas sparked World War 2 and the Genocide of the Jews. The tragedy of the Holocaust inspired authors, such as Art Spiegelman who produced a Graphic novel, where both the text and images helped him convey his own ideas and messages. In fact, Art Spiegelman’s graphic novel Maus is an effective medium for telling a Holocaust narrative and specifically his father’s story of survival. Through this medium, he is able to captivate the readers while providing interesting insight into the tragedy of the Holocaust by using the symbols of animals, the contrast between realism and cartoon imagery and the various basic elements of a graphic novel.
First, Art Spiegelman represents humans as animals to show how the Nazis categorized the world by race which is of historical importance to the Holocaust narrative. In Book II, pg. 11, panel 1, Art drew a sketch of different animals to represent characters for his father’s story. In Maus, each animal represents a different community. As an example, mice portrayed Jews, cats represented the German Nazis and pigs represented the Polish. With this representation in mind, the choice of Jews drawn as mice demonstrated that the Nazis view of them as vermin. According to the Nazis, the Jews were pests because they were everywhere and acted secretly to harm the Germans. In addition, Jews were portrayed in Nazi propaganda as sneaky people who would steal your food and money. For these reasons, the author chose to represent the Jewish community as mice in order to show the Nazis point of view at that time. Additionally, the symbolism of the cats as predators and the mice as prey is depicted. Overall, mice symbolize victims because they can’t defend themselves.