Literary Criticism Of Maus

737 Words 3 Pages
Every work of literature can be classified as belonging to several categories, be it fiction, nonfiction, etc. Maus, however, exhibits features of several of these categories, and, because of this, it is harder to classify it as belonging to just one of them. Elements that commonly form part of both biographical and autobiographical works are found in this book, along with those of the novel. The book tells two stories at once; it shows the author dealing with his father, Vladek, after his second wife abandons him, while at the same time demonstrating the author conducting a series of interviews with him about his experiences as an Auschwitz survivor. The latter is a strong argument for this book being a biographical work of literature. The …show more content…
The most conspicuous one is the author’s use of animals to represent people of different races, nationalities, or religions, i.e. mice for Jews, perhaps to represent Jews as vermin, cats for Germans, to portray them as predatory and so on. Of course, the classic cat-and-mouse trope is another portrayal present in the text. These are clear examples of symbolism, albeit ones that takes away from the nonfictional aspect of the story, due to the overtly fantastical nature of including anthropomorphic animals. Additionally, the fact that this text is based on secondhand information leaves plenty of room for error, therefore discrediting it from being a biographical work. With this in mind, one can come to the conclusion that this book is merely a fictional text based on or supplemented with real …show more content…
As I have shown, Maus manages to exceptionally encompass aspects of said categories, while at the same time going beyond them. In the autobiographical part, it reaches a more profound level of clarity by incorporating the author’s emotions. In the biographical part, it does the same, documenting the progression of Vladek’s psyche throughout the war. It utilizes the fictional aspects in a way that does not cause it to lose seriousness. Rather, it strengthens the seriousness of the topic by means of the symbols

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