Maus vols. I and II

Maus: The 'cat and mouse' game of Art Spiegelman's Maus

One of the most striking aspects of the graphic novel Maus by Art Spiegelman by is the way in which it uses animal cartoon characters to illustrate one of the most tragic periods of human history. The animals create a visual expectation of playfulness that is undercut by the horrors the book chronicles. The victims of the Holocaust are mice while the Nazi perpetrators are cats. This strikingly illustrates the vulnerability of Jews: it also stresses the Nazi's perception of Jews as vermin. However, the Jewish characters, although all mice, are strikingly and powerfully drawn in very unique ways -- Artie, for example, has a very different personality than his father.

Given that the 'real' Nazis often pictured the Jews as uniformly rodent-like, the choice of the cartoon image of a mouse also suggests a...
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