It is important to understand how animal and creature imagery have characterized the Jewish population in relation to the Shoah. In the article, “Speaking of Annihilation: Mobilizing for War Against Human and Insect Enemies,” Edmund P. Russell III argues society’s recognition of Jews as “half-human abd half-insect[s]” rather than normal and ordinary people adds even more shock value to the deaths and sufferings that were incurred during the Shoah (Russell 1505). Noticing the way people were portrayed as insects, Russell argues, the word like “exterminate, suggests that these metaphors appealed to long-standing values,” of society (Russell 1509). Therefore, the metaphor of the Jews as insects or animals only propelled the fallacious belief that the Jewish population should be annihilated. These metaphors also continued the prevailing belief that Jews were burdens and were not respectful of their boundaries. These animal and vermin metaphors are clearly used by Andres Schwarz-Bart in The Last of the Just and by Art Spiegelman in both Maus I and M...
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... they feel like there is no opportunity to escape. As seen in both The Last of the Just and Maus I and Maus II, Ernie and Vladek both recognize that whatever actions they choose, whether they may be death, or survival, by realizing the power of their own identity, they are no longer accepting the role as a dehumanized creature, and instead, emerging as victorious
Russell, Edmund P. “Speaking of Annihilation: Mobilizing for War Against Human and Insect Enemies, 1914-1945.” The Journal of American History 82.4 (1996): 1505-1529. JSTOR. Web. 26 Feb. 2014.
Schwarz-Bart, Andre. The Last of the Just. 1960. Trans. Stephen Becker. Woodstock, NY: Overlook P, 2000. Print.
Spiegelman, Art. Maus: A Survivor’s Tale I and II [My Father Bleeds History (1986); And Here My Troubles Began (1991)]. New York: Pantheon, 1993. Print
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