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Use of Animals as People in Maus

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Ariel Hayes

on 10 May 2012

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Transcript of Use of Animals as People in Maus

Animals &
Imagery in
MAUS Thanks for your Attention Throughout the two novels,
animals are used to portray
different peoples; the French are
frogs, the Poles pigs, and so on.
Possibly the most prominent and
symbolic portrayal using animals
is the use of cats as Nazis and
mice as Jews. As well as the imagery of the
cats and mice, Spiegelman uses
frogs to represent the French,
pigs to represent the Poles, and
golden retrievers to represent
Americans. These animals were
chosen consciously for reasons
that become apparent when one
looks into it. Animals are often associated
with children's books and trivial
things, so one may wonder; why
choose animals to describe such
a horrific and serious series
of events? Cat VS MAUS Frogs, Pigs, and Dogs Why Animals? The Cat The cat, the animal
used to portray
the Nazis, is clean-cut, angular and harsh. Their bodies
are stocky and well-fed, and their faces in a constant sneer. The MAUS Mice, the animals
portraying the Jews, are thin
and sallow-looking. Their eyes,
beady and dark, express a deep
sorrow. Each mouse is one of many;
this translates the idea that Jews are
indistinguishable and worthless and,
above all, pests, to the Nazis. The Dogs Americans are portrayed
by handsome, happy
labradors--this expresses
well the view many
had of the Americans,
who took many Jews
from the camps they
were once confined
to. The Pigs The Poles are portrayed in a very
different light than the Americans
or the French. They are pigs--not
seen as particularly special in
American literature. Their image is
a little harsher than that of the
Americans, Jews, or French, but
the intent, according to Spiegelman,
was to make them seem neutral;
however, the use of the pig offended Poland, who originally refused
to have the book translated to Polish. The Frogs The French are portrayed
by frogs. In Europe, the
French are often referred to
as frogs because they eat
frogs, and the flag of Charlemagne'
includes 3 toads, often mistaken for frogs. It makes one think. The
simplicity of the cat VS mouse
theme and the forces one to come to conclusions regarding what occurred in the Holocaust and the people it involved. Ultimately, though, the
reader should come up with their
own conclusions--this is what
Spiegelman was aiming for by using
animals for such a sombre issues,
and as readers, we are almost
obligated to do so. Bibliography Hogan, John. "The Complete Maus Graphic Novel Reporter." The Complete Maus | Graphic Novel Reporter. Pantheon. Web. 08 May 2012. <http://graphicnovelreporter.com/content/complete-maus-review>. Would this cat-and-mouse
dynamic add or detract
to your understanding
of the events? Discuss. Do you think any of the
choices could have
been improved? If so,
how? If you were writing the
novel, would you have
used animals or humans?
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