Analysis Of The Book Maus Essay Example


The book of Maus is a non-fictional novel that illustrates with detail many figures that portray the atrocities Jews endured during the Holocaust (world war 2). The author and narrator of the story, known as Arthur Spiegelman, was still learning how to deal with the traumatic events while writing the book. He made sure to include symbolism to deliver its message and get his point across. These representations help him comment on discrimination and injustice because it enables the apprehension of racism and inequity. The analogy in the book informs the readers of the characters and the conflicts they faced and, it’s simpler for him to communicate his morals.

The illustrations in the novel complement the quality, but also the originality and, it was a crucial part that gave the book its brilliance and unusual side. Spiegelman used symbols because it was easier for him to visualize the events based on the circumstances he was in, "That was very important because one thing they did not have much in Auschwitz among everything else was cameras, so there was no way to visually witness…" ( Art Spiegelman - Talk to Al Jazeera 2015 interview). It was his only way to envision the events by portraying animals instead of humans. This also significantly depended on peoples' drawings, on whether they would survive or not many years later. The symbols in the book helped Spiegelman associate particular characteristics with certain animals. These features were deliberately chosen for the readers to understand every nationality associated with each animal, the power they owned and the conflict they had to face. For instance, the representation of cats and mice reveals the dominance of Germans toward Jews. This because Jews were seen as vermin and were strongly stereotyped, which added to the book accuracy, and is strongly shown by these two animals. The metaphors Art Spiegelman used were clear and helped him clarify and convey the meaning of the book.

Equally important is the message in the novel regarding all the violations that were getting done to Jews. One of the main themes is racial inequity, and Spiegelman made sure that the key to the novel was to understand all the hidden symbols within it. For example, there is a Swastika symbol in a shape of a road strongly shown in the background of a panel (page 125). It was supposed to insinuate that the lives of all Jews were heavily restrained by the Holocaust. Although the emblem first exemplified positivity and life encouragement, it now has a connection with racism. The symbol was taken by Hitler and adopted by the Nazi party, which implied brutality, military fascism and genocide ( Hogeback 2). Moreover, the novel helped Spiegelman comment on racial injustice because he was denouncing the things that occurred during the Holocaust in concentration camps. During the war, most of the population of Jews got sent to concentration camps by Germans. A few of the ones left included Anja and Vladek, and their only way to stay alive was to keep on their pig looking mask. They had to constantly keep their mask, to hide their true identities because most Jews had gotten killed. For instance, when they came back from Srodula, they were forced to cover up themselves to appear Polish because of the high risk of danger they were facing (page 140). It shows us that there was so much risk around them that they had to move from places to places, such as the barn, Mr. Lukwoski’s house and to many other old friend’s houses to stay hidden. This representation is informative to the readers because it shows us that they lived in a stereotyped society where only racism and injustice rained, at a point where they had to stay locked up in bunkers to stay alive.

The novel of Maus perfectly demonstrates the events that happened during the Holocaust from a survivors' perspective, without forgetting many illustrations and their meaning. The use of cameras was not very common back then, and it drove Spiegelman to get out of his comfort zone and draw animals, with their particular characteristics. Not only that, but he also made sure to spread his message to his audience without a doubt. Today, we now have many books that boldly spread awareness about this sensitive topic that many are too afraid to abord. Spiegelman made sure to include a context to the novel that he described as "the genre of Holocaust literature."

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