Maus and Maus II by Art Spiegelman: An Analysis

Topics: Jews, The Holocaust, Germany Pages: 3 (988 words) Published: June 13, 2013
A Game of Cat and Maus

Maus and Maus II are both very powerful and moving graphic novels. Both of which discuss one of the worst tragedies known to mankind. Spielgelman used the graphic novel form because it came natural to him, however he probably also used it as a way to get a larger audience and to make the subject matter a little less intimidating. However, Spielgelman’s use of animals to represent the different races helps the reader better understand the situation in a somewhat entertaining and a somewhat easier way. Maus even encapsulates the adage, “a picture is worth a thousand words” to a tee. The title of the book Maus comes from the German word mauscheln. Mauscheln when translated to English means “to talk Yiddish” or “to cheat,” in terms of playing cards. The Germans laid the blame for Germany’s economic distress on the Jewish people. During this time frame, all the propaganda posters were portraying the Jewish community as mice. Maus, was a more than appropriate title considering how the Jewish were viewed and treated during this point. There are approximately eight different animals used to represent the different cultures represented in the novels. The three main animals used are mice, which represent the Jewish people; cats, which represent the German people and pigs, representing the Polish people. It seems obvious as to why the Germans and Jews were represented as they were. Germans believed they were superior to everyone else, and in the animal kingdom, the “king” is a lion, which is considered an overgrown cat. With the Germans are represented as cats, it would be more than obvious to portray the Jewish as an animal that would be the victim of a cat, a mouse. The Jewish eventually ended up having to live like mice whilst they were in hiding. The artistic portrayal allows the reader to visualize it in an easier manner than if it had been a point blank worded novel. The other main animal the reader sees representing a...
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