You're Such a Pig!

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MAUS I by Art Spiegelman has so many levels in such an easy to read book. Like Karyssa Blair says, "It helps me understand the events of the book in such a profound way, an understanding I don't think I would have from reading a straightforward history textbook. "

And for me even a historical fiction or literature book. I get really bored with so much text on historical events without pictures. History (with the exception of paleontology, some archeology, Native American, and other indigenous third-world people) does not interest me at all, but MAUS does something new.

The graphic art pulls me in and the language, themes, and symbols keep me wanting more. I know what happens (because it's historical), but I still want to know more despite the grandfather character saying no one will want to know of his life before the war. I actually think it makes him relatable. I'm sure we all will have/have had/or know someone with an obsessive significant other or someone with mental/emotional disorders.

The language also isn't filtered. It draws you in with the broken English and you can imagine the stereotypical accent alongside of it. The digressions about age and medical problems enhances the stereotype.

Then there is the type of animals. The timid/eaten/beaten Jews are mice and the ruthless killing Nazis are cats. (A game of cat and mouse.) The impartial nonjew is a pig. Why? Because unlike the Jews, the Polish could eat pigs so make them this animal. Did the Polish act like pigs? Or is it because in Jewish context the pig is close to humans in some way and is in some way sacred/should not be eaten?

Here the question is raised: Are the Polish pigs in a postive way or a negative way in the book? What characteristics do they hold?

Student Opinions 

2 Comments

In Judaism, eating pork is forbidden because the Bible says so. A land animal is supposed to have completely split hooves and bring up its own cud for a man to eat it. Otherwise, eating its meat is impure. Maybe the Poles were represented as pigs because they weren't supposed to interact with the Jews, but they did it anyways.

Aja Hannah said:

Thanks for clearing that up. I don't know a lot about Judiasm so I could only speculate.

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