Essay PreviewMore ↓
The Maus series of books tell a very powerful story about one man’s experience in the Holocaust. They do not tell the story in the conventional novel fashion. Instead, the books take on an approach that uses comic windows as a method of conveying the story. One of the most controversial aspects of this method was the use of animals to portray different races of people. The use of animals as human races shows the reader the ideas of the Holocaust a lot more forcefully than simply using humans as the characters.
Art Spiegelman decided on a very interesting, and possibly offensive to some, scheme of different animals to use. The first type of animal that appears is the mouse (Maus 1 p. 5). Mice were used to represent the Jewish people during the Holocaust as well as the present day. Polish police were involved in the first arrest of Jewish persons (Maus 1 p. 27). Polish people were represented with pigs. Once the Germans appeared, the scheme of the animals began to make sense (Maus 1 p. 33). Germans were shown by the use of cats. The last animal to appear were the dogs (Maus 2 p. 12). The dogs are Americans, and were always friendly to the Jewish people.
The relationship between these animals portray the ideas of the Holocaust very well. Mice are small and scrawny creatures which are usually hunted by Cats. Cats chase mice and attempt to devour them, much like the Germans hunted down the Jews during the mass genocide. Pigs are very greedy and self centered. During the story, the Polish(Pigs) sold out the Jewish people on many occasions (Maus I p. 143). An example is when Vladek and his family were staying at Kawka’s farm. “They may come search here any minute! You’ve got to leave!” In this situation, Kawka was not telling the truth, but only trying to protect herself. Dogs chase cats, which in the book was symbolic because the Americans sympathized with the Jewish people. These are very rudimentary overviews of the animals, but they will serve for the purposes of this essay.
In the Maus series, the life of Vladek during the Holocaust was detailed. The animals were used to illustrate a point of view.
How to Cite this Page
"Use of Animals in Art Spiegelman's Maus: A Survivor's Tale." 123HelpMe.com. 13 Oct 2019
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Review of Maus: A Survivor's Tale by Art Spiegelman The holocaust was a terrible war that killed many Jewish people. Valdek was extremely lucky and he was one of the very few Jews who lived and made it through the war. Although he is still a live he will never be able to forget the terrible things the Nazis did to the Jews. The things he learnt in the concentration camps will always affect his life and after reading Maus the reader can see many different ways that the holocaust effected Valdek’s personality.... [tags: Maus, Art Spiegelman, Autobiography, Holocaust]
833 words (2.4 pages)
- Maus: A Survivor’s Tale by Art Spiegelman is a graphic novel consisting of two narratives, one telling the story of Nazi persecution of Jews during the Holocaust and the other telling how Spiegelman’s father, Vladek lived in New York in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Specifically, it is an account told by Spiegelman’s father, Vladek, who was a Jewish Holocaust survivor from Poland, as a narrator about his experience during the war to Art, who is ‘interviewing’ him. Maus belongs to what is known as second-generation Holocaust literature, which tells stories of how the children and descendants of survivors were impacted by the tragedy.... [tags: Nazi Germany, The Holocaust, Adolf Hitler, Jews]
927 words (2.6 pages)
- One - The Sheik Art visits his dad, Vladek, in Rego Park, New York, after being away for about two years. Vladek has married Mala after the suicide of Art's mother. Art persuades Vladek to begin telling him the story of his life, which Art hopes to use for a book. Vladek begins at the time that he is a young man working in the textile business near Czestochowa, Poland. He has an affair with the beautiful Lucia before he is introduced to Anna Zylberberg. Anna (Anja) is from a wealthy family and is well educated but nervous and sickly.... [tags: Autobiography Summary maus]
1173 words (3.4 pages)
- Art Spiegelman’s Maus is a novel about the Vladek and his experience as a Polish Jew during the Holocaust. It narrates the reality of the Holocaust wherein millions and millions of Jews were systematically killed by the Nazi regime. One of the themes in the story is racism which is evident in the employment of animal characters and its relationship with one another. The Jews are mice, Nazis are cats, Poles are pigs and Americans are dogs. Holocaust and racism are two inseparable elements.... [tags: Polish Jews during the Holocaust]
619 words (1.8 pages)
- An estimated six million Jewish people were killed during the Holocaust, and many were thought to have survived due to chance. Vladek in Art Spiegelman’s graphic novel, Maus, is one of the few Jewish people to survive the Holocaust. Though Vladek’s luck was an essential factor, his resourcefulness and quick-thinking were the key to his survival. Vladek’s ability to save for the times ahead, to find employment, and to negotiate, all resulted in the Vladek’s remarkable survival of the Holocaust. Therefore, people who survived the Holocaust were primarily the resourceful ones, not the ones who were chosen at random.... [tags: Holocaust graphic novel analysis]
596 words (1.7 pages)
- “A remarkable work, awesome in its conception and execution… at one and the same time a novel, a documentary, a memoir, and a comic book. Brilliant, just brilliant.” -Jules Feiffer (1) This is a commentary by Jules Feiffer about “Maus”, which is a survivor’s tale created by Art Spiegelman. As you can see from the commentary, this is a wonderful story, not only its the writing but also the art. The author made the story interesting that attracts many readers by changing many things from the first 3 –page version of Maus.... [tags: book and literary analysis]
989 words (2.8 pages)
- Maus is a biographical story that revolves around Vladek Spiegelman’s involvements in the Holocaust, but masks and manipulation is one of the few themes of the book that has a greater picture of what the book entails. Vladek’s experiences during World War II are brutal vivid detail of the persecution of Jews by German soldiers as well as by Polish citizens. Author Art Spiegelman leads the reader through the usage of varying points of view as Spiegelman structures several pieces of stories into a large story.... [tags: Maus, Art Spiegelman, World War II]
1175 words (3.4 pages)
- Maus: A Survivor's Tale, by Art Spiegelman, tells the story of his father's survival in Auschwitz during the Holocaust, as well as about Art's relationship with his father, brought out through the interview process and writing the two books. The subject matter of the two books is starkly juxtaposed with the style in which it was written, that is, it is a graphic novel. In most simple terms, the story is told in a sort of comic, with characters represented as animals based on their race or nationality (Jews are presented as mice, Germans as cats, Poles as pigs, and Americans as dogs).... [tags: Literature Review]
1698 words (4.9 pages)
- “The world. The world is not interested in us. Today everything is possible, even the crematoria…” - Elie Wiesel The graphic novel “Maus” is one Holocaust survivor’s tale, Vladek Spiegelman. Vladek lived through the Holocaust and along the way lost most if not all of his family. Art arrived at his fathers’ home to capture the story. Within the novel you bare witness to this very awkward father son relationship, you see how one managed to escape death when it is the only option, and the lasting impact a traumatic experience such as the Holocaust can have on future relationships.... [tags: Holocaust, Son, Relationships]
1210 words (3.5 pages)
- Maus is one of the most famous of recent graphic novels. Winner of the prestigious Pulitzer prize for literature, it's the harrowing true story of a Jewish holocaust survivor, retold to his son decades later. The story has two main threads. The first is the true story of Holocaust survivor Vladek Spiegelman's experiences as a young Jewish man during the horrors leading up to and including his confinement in Auschwitz. The second intertwining story is about Vladek as an old man, recounting his history to his son Art, the author of the book, and the complicated relationship between the two of them.... [tags: essays research papers]
411 words (1.2 pages)
There are a few pros and cons to depicting humans as humans rather than animals. Depicting humans as humans would deter any controversial feelings about the way the Jews and other races were shown. Depicting humans as animals created controversy partly because it is somewhat demeaning to think of yourself as an animal. A con to showing humans as humans is that it would be hard to show how the Jews had to mask themselves at times (Maus I p. 136). The Jewish characters had to mask their identities while they were running from the Germans so that they would not be recognized as Jewish people. The biggest con to using humans as the characters is being able to tell races apart. In using the animals and masks, there was no mistaking what race a character was.
At the beginning of Maus II, there was a discussion about what type of animal Art’s girlfriend should have been drawn as. This discussion was between Art and his girlfriend (Maus II p. 11). The section begins with some drawings of different animals that could be Francoise. The most interesting drawing is of the frog, which could be used to symbolize the French. The argument came in because Francoise converted to Judaism. Franciouse said, “Okay! But if you’re a mouse, I ought to be a mouse too. I converted didn’t I?” Francoise made the point that she should be a mouse based on the fact that she converted and Art agrees with that argument. This practice is accepted in most temples and is valid so she rightfully should be a mouse.
Another device used in the books to portray different races was masks. The masks first appeared as Art was drawing up more information with all of the fake dead bodies around (Maus II p.41). In this scene, Art wears a mouse mask and other characters wear mouse, cat, and dog masks. The fact that Art is wearing a mask instead of being a mouse and that the scene comes after Vladek has died signifies that Art has a deep understanding of what happened to his people, but he never felt the belittlement that they did. By wearing a mask, he is trying to show that most people understand what happened, but can never quite feel the entire weight of the Holocaust. Although, during the story when he would talk to Vladek, he was a real mouse.
During periods in the present when Art would talk to Vladek, Art was portrayed as a real mouse. Portraying Jewish people as mice in the present day is somewhat demeaning, but there may be a reason for this choice. It seems as if Art is trying to portray the idea that even though he was not in the Holocaust, he can feel the weight of it because of his father. Other people his father has been involved with can as well. Art made some very controversial decisions when making the Maus series. His decisions were the best that could have been made though. The animals portrayed the people as they should have been portrayed and a very powerful statement was made. By using masks, Spiegleman was able to display the difference in mentalities of the characters as well as show when they were hiding. Also, Spiegleman kept the people as close to human as possible by letting them stand upright instead of crawling. Daniel Genest agrees with Spiegleman’s choice to keep the animals as human as possible while still portraying them as different animals. Through the use of animals, Spiegleman portrayed the Holocaust in an intelligent manner.
Spiegelman, Art. Maus: A Survivor’s Tale. New York: Pantheon , 1986.