The Complete Maus Analytical Essay

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Maus Trapped Traditional comic books are usually targeted toward a younger crowd because of the way they differ from novels. Instead of embodying a story by just using text like written books do, graphic novels capture the imagery and emotion of the story with illustrations. While Art Spiegelman’s The Complete Maus, a compilation of the graphic novels Maus and Maus II, features drawings of cartoon animals, this publication has a much more solumn point to get across than traditional comic books. Spiegelman’s series is an account of his father, Vladek's, experience of Aushwitz and World War II. The book also shows how Vladek’s stingy, condescending, and impatient tendencies take a toll on their relationship. Art also represents the characters as various animals – Jews as mice, Germans as cats, Poles as pigs, and Americans as dogs – as a constant analogy to the Holocaust. Evidence of the horror and trauma that the Holocaust caused is not limited to Vladek’s recollections; they haunt the characters’ lives daily. Spiegelman uses imagery in Maus and Maus II to express the imprisoning feeling that Anja and Vladek were never freed of due to the Holocaust, as well as the entrapment that Spiegleman felt as a result of his parents’ experiences. Although Anja Spiegelman, Vladek's late wife and Art's mother, survived Auschwitz and moved to America, she never emotionally escaped the terror of the Holocaust. Art reveals her unfortunate fate during the prologue of Maus on page 13 when he is describing his father's appearance. “He had aged a lot since I saw him last. My mother’s suicide and his two heart attacks had taken their toll” (Speigelman 13). Having this fact introduced at the very beginning of the book sets the eerie mood of false hope that the Holocaust entails – it shows us that Anja left Auschwitz physically alive, but emotionally broken. Anja's depression is captured
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