Maus Essay

1626 Words 7 Pages
Nathalie Castro

Topics for Discussion: Comics Technique
In Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud argues that a face drawn with great detail can represent only one specific person, but that a face drawn with few details—a smiley face, for instance— could be almost anyone.

Source: Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics (DC Comics, 1999): 31.

Describe the faces in Maus. Are they iconic (could be anyone) or particular (could only be Vladek)?
The faces in described in Maus are intensely descriptive and illustrated. For example, the Germans are drawn as cats, the Poles as pigs, Jews as mice, Americans as dogs, and lastly, the French were drawn as frogs. The faces could go either way; they could be iconic or particular. They
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Typus: late Latin, meaning form. Hence, stereotype: to give solid form to ideas. The stereotype was invented early in the eighteenth century as a way of making relief-printing plates from paper mold molds. It’s the way newspaper comics were made until new technologies overtook the business in the 1960’s so comic strips were literally as well as figuratively generated from stereotypes.”
(Source: Art Spiegelman, in “Mightier Than the Sorehead,” The Nation, January 17, 1994:45.)
What are stereotypes? Are they harmful, and if so, how? What are some current examples of stereotypes? How does Spiegelman use stereotypes in Maus? Seek and select specific examples. Summarize his technique, and analyze why he uses them. Infer the artist’s attitudes, and the reason for his choices.

A stereotypes is a popular belief about specific types of individuals or certain way of doing things. In some cases, believing in stereotypes can be potentially harmful. If a person believes in stereotypes, they will think that people from certain cliques act a certain way. Therefore, when it comes to interacting with others, they may decide not to talk to people from a certain group or even superficially express their dislike for people of a certain genre. Spiegelman uses stereotypes in Maus to draw the different animal characters and how they talk. For example, the Americans were drawn as dogs because they are superior to cats, which

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