A Touch of the Metaphorical Past


Staub, The Shoah Goes On and On: Rememberance and Representation in Art Spiegelman's Maus
EL 237--Writing about Literature

How do we see metaphors played out in a story will make or break it. Staub notices that an oral tradition in Vladek's home country made it possible for us to see what is going on in Maus. However, without the comic book format, the metaphor will go over our heads. In Maus I, there is a quote of Adolf Hitler: "The Jews are undoubtedly a race, but they are not human". Staub states that Spiegelman knew what he was doing by making everyone animals after that quote. It was a "straightforward metaphor for the dehumanization of victims that allows genocide to occur". Maybe we are seeing what we should not see about these groups of people via these metaphors.

Does the the races of animals shows the all of the struggles of this story?


I don't know that the races of the animals shows everything about the struggles, but I definitely think it adds to the overall picture. There are many other factors to take into consideration. One aspect alone won't get everything across. However, if you were to eliminate any one of those aspects--even something seemingly insignificant--it would take away from the overall effect.

I guess that the representation of animlas somewhat illustrates the point that Hitler felt all those who were not Aryan were also not human. But, the animal characterization for me did not further Spiegelman's story as much as the expressions on the character's faces and the brutal simplicity in which he illustrated life in Auschwitz.