Images Toned Down the Violence?


When I heard in class that we would be reading Maus by Art Spiegelman. At first I thought man just another boring book that we have to read for english class and pretend that we enjoyed it. To my surprise instead of a boring book we got to read a graphic novel now, I personally have never read a graphic novel before so I didn’t really know what to expect. Then as I opened the book I saw that the book was about the author’s fathers experience in the Holocaust this really caught my attention because the Holocaust was such a huge tragedy in history. Then as I continued to read i noticed that although the story is accurately  told the images that Spiegelman created showed the world in almost a cartoony way. With the Jews as mice, the Germans as cats, and the Pols as pigs. I found this so interesting that while the subject is very gritty and traumatizing that Spiegelman would choose to create his world with animals. Although the idea of the German cats chasing the Jew mice creates a metaphor for how the Jews were hunted and felt like. Crafting his world in this cartoon like sense almost downplays the violence and hatred that his father and millions of Jews experienced, instead of wanting us to feel the emotions of the characters Spiegelman almost turns his fathers story of survival into a book that just wants you to understand the facts. At points in the book the images do almost make you feel how depressing life was for example the image of the Nazis smashing kids into the wall and blood is splattered all over the wall this shows the gritty and evil violence that is unfathomable to this day. I enjoyed reading the book overall and enjoyed reading a different genre of book and although the images may have toned down the violence and detached the audience the horror that many faced will never be forgotten of how in the face of evil they survived.


2 thoughts on “Images Toned Down the Violence?

  1. I had the same thoughts! I was not at all excited to read Maus until I realized it wasn’t just another book! It was a graphic novel. Having the pictures made it easier to read. It was interesting to be able to hear the stories of someone who survived the holocaust. I agree that having the pictures was helpful because it allowed the reader to see what the author was really trying to say instead of the reader imagines in their head. This blog was great and I related to everything. Good job!

  2. I thought it was a cool effect having the people drawn as animals. And that all the different groups were a differnet animal. The jews were mice, the nazis were cats, the pols were pigs, and the americans were dogs. I also like how that did make for good metaphors, one like you said, the violence by the Germans against the Jews was like cats chasing mice. I’m not someone who can’t handle violence, but people being depicted as animals did dumb it diwn a bit, which was nice. I think it made for a unique reading expirience.

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