Why a Mouse Mask?

When reading Maus a few things about how the author choose to illustrate caught my attention, but what stuck out most to me was on pages 201 to 207. In these pages you see the author and others wearing animal masks. You can interpret the way he drew humans wearing animal masks in many ways, but the way I see it is a way to show simplicity. Us as humans are very complicated beings and we see animals to have a simpler lifestyle, like animals focus more on survival than humans just go through the emotional rollercoaster of life. I am not saying we are too complex but animals have a more basic way of life, and I think that is way Art Spiegelman wanted to draw humans like animals because this way the readers focus is more on the emotion of the story more then the emotion of the people.

Letting the whole notion aside about why he chooses cats, mice, etc. I think he choose animals so the story be more on focus, then they way the people looked. There is emotion in the animals, but there would have been more emotion and less focus on the events of story if he drew humans. Pages 201 to 207 made me think that he wanted the readers to focus on the tragedies that were happening. When you wear a mask you are hiding your identity and letting something else identify you, and that is what the author did when he showed people wearing animal masks. He wanted to take away the extra (as I said before) emotion and let the story speak for itself. Also by doing this he let you create the emotion yourself because it wasn’t there directly handed to you.

Spiegelman may have done the whole animal and masks a way different approach then the way I am interrupting it, but that is why I admire it. I believe something has better emotion and depth when it isn’t black and white and people with different mindsets can interrupt it in their own way. Even if you didn’t enjoy Maus entirely you will still have a different way of looking at it then someone else, because you took in the emotion of the story in your own way.


One thought on “Why a Mouse Mask?

  1. I agree with what you said here, in that, he drew the people as animals to add simplicity to the story itself. One thing (that you may disagree with me one) that I see though, is that he may have drawn minorities as specific animals to stereotype them. To say that from the German’s perspective, “all Jews are the same”, and also to say from the Jew’s perspective “all Germans are the same.” If that makes sense. Like he was unbiased, yet to the same degree, biased as to the demeanor and character of the minorities themselves. I know a lot of people hate when people look far too deeply into the meaning of an author, but Art almost leaves us no choice in how he depicts his “animals”.

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