`` Maus `` : A Survivor 's Tale Of His Father Essay

1331 Words Apr 19th, 2016 6 Pages
In his graphic novel, “Maus”, Art Spiegelman tells a survivor’s tale of his father, Vladek Spiegelman. Valdek was a Jewish-Polish survivor of World War II. He endures many hardships as the graphic novel progresses, including but not limited to the loss of his first son, Richieu, numerous prison camps, and bankruptcy. However, what is unique about this graphic novel is the way it is illustrated—animals replace humans as the characters of the story. Jews are portrayed as mice, the Germans as cats, the Poles as pigs, the non-Jewish Americans as dogs, the French as frogs, etc. But why so? Choosing an animal for a group of people aided in telling the survivor’s tale. Spiegelman chose animals as characters because doing so provides distinctions between nationalities during that time, attributes certain prejudices and characteristics to those people, and shapes the reader’s view of these nationalities.
Throughout the graphic novel, readers are introduced to a number of different peoples. Portraying them as different animals allows the reader to tell which character in the story is of what group. For example, near the beginning of the story, Anja is once involved in translating communist papers into German, and passing them on. When she was warned about being caught, she requested to a tenant of her family’s building, the seamstress, to hide the papers. Later on, guards depicted as pigs appeared at the door. They eventually arrested the seamstress. These guards, however, are easily…

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