Mighty Maus

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I don't have a specific line to blog about because I can't pick just one. Needless to say, I LOVED this book.I've always had an interest in the Holocaust (hence why I'm working in the Holocaust center). Also, Dr. Wendland mentioned this book to me, and I was rather leary to read it because I've never really liked comic books. After reading Maus, though, I don't think that this novel could have been presented in any other way.

1) Maus is a book that gives an in-depth analysis of man's inhumanity towards man through animal eyes.
The Holocaust is an indescribable horror. It's very, very difficult to even comprehend the cruelties that were inflicted on other human beings just because of race, orientation, etc. Hitler wanted to erase these differences in order to create a perfect race. Well, I believe that the most effective component of this book is the use of animals rather than human beings. We often speak in class about how human beings feel more sorry for animals because they can control the fate of the helpless creatures. I mean- come on... did you ever think you'd feel sorry for a mouse? I didn't until I read this book. I don't think that if Spiegelman used human characters in his comic, I would have reacted in the same way. (A particular example that comes to mind is the terrifying illustration on page 71 of mice hanging by the neck- you should see some of the pictures in the second book. The fact that it was MICE hanging made the situation even more pathetic and terrifying).

2) Spigelman's wavering relationship with his father and his father's relationship with the world.
The author's father is a typical old man. He complains about how many pills he has to take and how his second wife never does anything. I've experienced plenty of old men like this. However, I'm having a hard time connecting the OLD Vladek with the young, dapper Vladek. Where did this abrupt change in personality come from?? I understand that the Holocaust changed Vladek and made him more conscious of money, but I actually cared very much for the young Vladek. Nonetheless, it kind of makes me want to discover the stories of the elderly in my life.

3) I looked up the meaning of the title- it still means "mouse."
I was sort of disappointed that the title wasn't some enigmatic German phrase. It literally means "mouse." However, I did LOVE the imagery concerning "cat and mouse." Does anyone have any ideas as to why the Polish were depicted as pigs?

1 Comments

Just to let you know, you didn't post a comment on the class website. I'm guessing that's why people haven't commented yet :(

I absolutely agree about the fact that he uses animals to represent the characters makes the reader more sympathetic to the Jews. Even though their oppressors are also animals, they're depicted as animals higher on the food chain, so the reader feels less sympathy for them since they can take care of themselves.

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