Symbolism In Maus By Spiegelman

1360 Words 6 Pages
How does Spiegelman’s use of contrasting shading methods, specific metaphors, and vivid symbolism in Maus show not only the views of the Nazis of the Jews, but how the Jews ended up viewing themselves.
Spiegelman’s use of shading portrays the loss of identity, sets the scene, and shows the guilt that Valdek felt during and after the Holocaust. On pages 51, 55, and 58, Spiegelman uses the pattern of prison stripes on the faces of the mice to portray a sense of loss of individuality. It is normal for the clothes of prisoners to have stripes on them, but when Spiegelman expands that pattern onto the full bodies of the Jews, it makes the reader understand the sense of lost individuality the Jews felt since the reader can’t tell the mice apart from
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The Nazis just see the Jews as rodents, weak, and small. On page 56, in the last panel, the mice are seen slumped, totally shaded in, and carrying shovels. The mice being totally shaded in, their shoulders being slumped shows their loss of identity, feeling defeated, not feeling individual anymore. They have a sense of despair and sadness not only with their situation, but with themselves. At this point in the book, the reader first starts to see the sadness and struggle Vladek faces throughout the entire story. On pages 82 and 84 (panel 1), Spiegelman fully shades in Vladek and Anja, this portrays the same thing on both of these pages. Spiegelman uses this method to once again show loss of identity but not just reflected within themselves like the last example. In the last example, Vladek and Anja hadn’t yet been forced out of their house, have their wealth and influence taken from them, but now they have. The loss of who they are on the inside and outside portrays their sense of unhappiness and insanity. But on page 84 panel 1, Spiegelman places his brother there. The boy is playing with his toys, isn’t shaded in, and is facing the …show more content…
The main examples are the Jews being represented as mice and the Nazis being represented as cats. Mice are seen as weak, quiet, meant to be exterminated, forced to run and hide, and seen as vile or dirty. This is exactly how the Nazis viewed the Jews. The Nazis saw the Jews as less than human so the metaphor makes sense, but the cat comparison to the Nazis also fits perfectly. Cats are seen as vicious predators, cunning, stealthy, hunters, and cold blooded. This is the way that most people view the Nazis. The mice tails are also a very important part of Spiegelman’s metaphor. The tails on the mice represent the Jewish identity of the mice. At the beginning of the story, and also with the children, the reader can clearly see the tails of the mice. They aren’t afraid to be themselves, but as the story progresses, the tails slowly disappear as the Jews have to run and hide. This is Spiegelman’s subtle way of showing another form of loss of identity and how the Jews viewed themselves as less than and that being Jewish was a bad thing. While the Jews have the heads of mice along with tails, they still have a human body. This is Spiegelman’s way of giving them a very human form. The heads and tails act as a shield of sorts. Some of the events of the book, such as hangings, would be very hard to read and look at if the characters are

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