Maus Ii, By Art Spiegleman Essay

892 words - 4 pages

Maus II, written and illustrated by Art Spiegelman, tells the memoirist accounts of his Holocaust-surviving father, Valadek Spiegelman. Maus II is apiece of literature that is unusual to most readers. Comic book artist by trade, Art Spiegelman chooses to write his book in the style that is most comfortable to him. The comic strip format along with the animal metaphors, give Maus II a unique and fresh approach to the circus of relationships that are endured during, or perhaps after the Holocaust.This comic book format provides an easier approach to a serious and depressing subject. This style of writing is very effective and does not detract from the stories vivid realism. On the contra, it adds to the story by giving the reader a clear depiction of what emotions are being expressed. An example of this is when Vladek is being beaten by a German guard for speaking to Anja: ?Count the blows,? (57) the German yells with a look of pleasure and satisfaction on his face: ?If you loose count- I?ll start again? (57). You can feel the intense pain that Valdek was experiencing by the expression on his face. Art Spiegelman catches every emotion in his illustrations. From a cigarette butt, to the roof top of the smoke stack, Mr. Spiegelman includes every bit of detail in order to allow his readers to appreciate what the Jews were experiencing.Perhaps the most unique feature Maus II has to offer is the use of animal metaphors. Art Spiegelman portrays Jews as mice, the German are seen as cats, the Americans are dogs and the Polish are shown as pigs. The cat chasing the mouse metaphor is suitable for the relationship between the Germans and Jews, like a cat would prey and feed on a family of mice; the Germans would torture and kill innocent Jewish people in order to fulfill their hunger for power. Animal metaphors are very effective, giving the reader a clear depiction of who?s who. The reader doesn?t have to guess what nationality the characters are, because they are clearly illustrated as different animals. The point about using pigs to portray the Polish is slightly more complex than ?the cat-chasing mouse? metaphor. A pig is usually seen as a dirty, lazy animal, when in actuality pigs are very intelligent and clever creatures. Many Poles were clever enough to work with the Germans in order to have their lives spared. These Polish people were called Kapo- (a barrack supervisor), who would manipulate themselves into authoritative positions, while still remaining kind to the Jews. The relationship that the Jews had with the Poles is a unique, as seen...

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