Maus: The Andromophism of Reality

Maus. An andromorphic comic written by Art Spiegelman about his father’s experience in the Holocaust.

I was very surprised we were reading a comic in class. Most of my english classes don’t use comics as a reading assignment so I was very thrilled to see it. When I purchased the comics, I quickly started reading a few chapters. At first, I was confused on why the Jews and the cats are the Nazis. It was well played for Art to illustrate the animals like this. Mice are small, they are pest that humans would want to get rid of, and one of the methods of getting rid of mice, is to have cats catching them. That’s why the Nazis are portrayed as cats. After a while, I stopped and decided to read it in class.

It actually took me a bit longer than usual to read the comic. Probably because I read many Japanese comics, that are right to left, and they have much less panels to read. Spiegelman had a style that he would try to cram as much space as he can use. The drawings were quite small and sometimes they are a bit hard to follow. The thinking text were outside of the panel rather than in the panel as well. After awhile I got very use to it so the next few chapters, I could read it much faster than I started. Even though the drawings were meant to be cartoonish, I do feel moments in the comic that would give me goosebumps. Ex: When Anja sister poisoned herself and the children, and when some of the jews were hanged and their corpse were still there in the noose.

There were some humor in the comic as well. Spiegelman must have used it to give breathers to the readers. So much darkness that Vladek had gone through must have stressed the readers. I giggled on a few times on some parts. Spiegelman also inserted his previous comic in the story too. I’m not sure why he did it, but the fact the previous comic had a huge contrast between styles.

Through out the first volume, Vladek was very lucky to managed to keep him as his wife away from getting to a concentration camp. Sadly most of his family didn’t survive, and in the end he and his wife did get caught and are now currently seperated. But since Vladek is telling the story to Spiegelman, you know in the end the two survived.

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One thought on “Maus: The Andromophism of Reality

  1. I really enjoyed reading your various notions about the comic book or graphic novel “Maus” by Art Spiegelman.
    When I was growing up, everyone was reading Japanese comics also known as “mangas”. But in contrast to most people, I got bored with these kind of books very quickly (maybe because of the aspect you mentioned concerning reading from the right to the left). Because of these prior experiences, I thought this book would be a tedious read. However, I was wrong. One night, I just wanted to sneak a peek into the first few pages before going to bed, and I couldn’t put the book away after that. Ultimately, I had to force myself to stop reading so that I would be able to get at least a few hours of sleep that night.
    I especially liked Art Spiegelman’s way of drawing the characters. And an additional aspect why the author chose mice to illustrate the Jewish people in his book might be that although these animals are seen as vermin, they don’t to any harm. They are small and harmless (or innocent). Most people wouldn’t squeal at the sight of a mouse. Even Vladek Spiegelman was able to calm down his wife Anja, while sitting in the cellar in Mrs Motonowa’s home, by stating that the crawling animals were mice and not rats: “They’re just mice” (149). Cats, on the other hand, catch mice without a real reason but to get rid of them. Most cats don’t eat the mice they trap, they just kill them and show them to their owners as a trophy.

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