Maus I


The book's dedication reads: "The Jews are undoubtedly a race, but they are not human." Adolf Hitler

Art Spiegelman uses this dedication to set the stage for his beast fable metaphor. He casts the Jews as mice
and the Germans as cats, as explained in this quote from Ian Johnston's On Spiegelman's Maus I and II

Mice and Cat characters
Mice and Cat characters


"How are we supposed to interpret the animal imagery used throughout Maus? Some people have made the obvious suggestion that this form creates an obvious allegory, in which the different types of people are characterized in a simple, one-to-one manner with the characteristics of the animals which represent them. And to a certain extent this is true. Depicting the Jewish people as mice, for example, summons up a host of contradictory associations which, in fact, conveys an assortment of different attitudes towards the Jewish people: small, loveable (like Mickey Mouse), harmless, on the one hand, and yet verminous, repellent, and ugly on the other. Portraying the Germans as cats brings out the power and malevolence of the entire Holocaust experience, the point being that cats don't just kill mice: they capture them, play with them, and then kill them."

Do you think that Spiegelman made the correct choice in using these simply drawn animal characters?
How would you describe Spiegelman's graphic style?
How does Spiegelman demonstrate the differences between the past and present?
These questions are designed to initiate a discussion about Maus on the LIS 518 discussion board.
Page 114 Vladek and Anja are caught by the Gestapo
Page 114 Vladek and Anja are caught by the Gestapo