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Maus: A Survivor's Tale

Maus: A Survivor's Tale

by Art Spiegelman

Maus: A Survivor's Tale Analysis

Literary Devices in Maus: A Survivor's Tale

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Perhaps the most obvious feature of Maus is its use of animals to represent different races and nationalities. In representing the Jews as mice, Spiegelman is playing off the anti-Semitic stereotyp...

Setting

Maus follows Vladek Spiegelman in Poland in the years leading up to World War II. Germany invaded Poland in 1939 at the start of its hostilities against Russia. While Vladek starts the war as a sol...

Narrator Point of View

Maus goes back and forth between two first person narrators: Vladek and Art. We see the story unfold from both of their points of view. The use of a central first person narrator puts us deep into...

Genre

In Maus, you actually get two autobiographies in one. First, you have the story of Art Spiegelman as told by himself, telling the story of transcribing his father’s words and turning them into th...

Tone

The tone varies as the voice shifts between Vladek and Art, but in general, the tone fits the somber themes of the book. Art’s reflections on his relationship with his father and on the crafting...

Writing Style

As a graphic novel, most of the language is dialogue, with the images doing the work of setting the scene and representing the action. Thus the writing style tends to be conversational, closely fol...

What's Up With the Title?

The title, the German word for “mouse,” is a reference to the Jewish characters, who are all depicted as mice. By using German (or the language of the cats as the novel likes to call it), Maus...

What's Up With the Epigraph?

Maus Part I: “The Jews are undoubtedly a race, but they are not human.” Maus Part II: “Mickey Mouse is the most miserable ideal ever revealed … Healthy emotions tell every independent young...

What's Up With the Ending?

Maus ends without resolving all the tensions it had set up over the course of the entire novel. Art sits with his bedridden father, who has just finished telling Art about his reunion with Anja aft...

Tough-o-Meter

Maus is very readable to begin with, but as a graphic novel, it also has images that help the readers visualize the story. It’s a 2 instead of a 1 on the Tough-o-Meter because of its serious and...

Plot Analysis

Vladek begins his story as a well-to-do young man in Poland.Maus’s plot centers on Vladek’s story, as he relates it to Art. Vladek begins his story with a description of his affluent lifestyle...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

Vladek must seek a way to survive in German-occupied Poland during World War II.Vladek’s particular telling of his Holocaust experience takes a basic quest form, where he is the hero and the obj...

Three-Act Plot Analysis

Vladek and his family live a prosperous life in Poland.Vladek and his family are taken to the concentration camps.Vladek survives, along with Anja, and they immigrate to the United States.

Trivia

Spiegelman also wrote a graphic novel about the events of 9/11, entitled In the Shadow of No Towers.Spiegelman was furious at Steven Spielberg’s An American Tail. He claims that Spielberg stole h...

Steaminess Rating

Nothing steamy here. Move along.

Allusions

Samuel Beckett (II.2.35)Dr. Mengele (II.2.48)AuschwitzBirkenauDachauWalt Disney (I.5.35)
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