Race and Class: The Cause of Genocide

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Racism is a very touchy topic but it has existed throughout human history. Racism may be defined as the hatred of one person by another, or the belief that another person is less than human because of their skin color, language, customs, and place of birth or any factor that reveals the basic nature of that person. Racism has influenced wars, slavery, the formation of nations, and most of all GENOCIDE. Maus 1 and 2 is a memoir by Art Spiegelman about his father’s survival from the holocaust. He uses the past and present narratives throughout his book. The past narrative is often briefly interrupted by small sections of present narrative. These past and present narratives represent the majority of the pages within Maus. Maus has different themes but the most striking of them is the issue of race and class. The issues of race and class figure heavily in the plot, themes, and structure of Maus.

At the most basic level, issues of race play themselves out on the grand scale of the Holocaust, a terrible culmination of senseless racism that is drawn and described in all its brutality and efficiency (Muller-Hill 98). This is seen in the brutal killing of the Jews, Gypsies, Poles, Russians, Homosexuals and Jehovah’s witnesses. The holocaust was possible because of the active or passive participation and compliance of many groups and individuals within Germany, Austria and other countries under Nazi occupation or sway. The Nazis were not interested in converting the Jews to Christianity, because they viewed the Jews entirely on racial terms; that they were less than humans.

Maus also deals with these racial issues in other, more subtle ways, through the use of different animal...

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...ups of men” (Muller-Hill). It is impossible to predict a person’s character based on the persons race or color. There is only one race on this earth and that is the human race.

In the book Maus, Art Spiegelman did not try to portray his father Vladek as a

saint, he tried to show him as human as he was.

Works Cited

Friedlander, Henry. "The Manipulation Of Language." Milton, Sybil. The Holocaust: Ideology, Bureaucracy and Genocide. New York: Kraus International Publication, 1980. 103-111. Print.

Landau, Ronnie S. The Nazi Holocaust. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 1992. Print.

Muller-Hill, Benno. Murderous Science. New York: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, 1998. Print.

Spiegelman, Art. Maus: A Survivor's Tale. New York: Pantheon Books, 1986. Print.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. n.d. Web page. 3 March 2014.

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