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Maus: A Survivor's Tale

Maus: A Survivor's Tale

by Art Spiegelman

Maus: A Survivor's Tale Themes

Little Words, Big Ideas

Power

Spiegelman’s Maus gives us a detailed look at the ways Jews were systematically persecuted in German-occupied territories during World War II. Seen as an inferior race, Jews were deprived of the...

Warfare (The Holocaust)

Maus presents World War II largely from the perspective of Jewish survivors who were imprisoned in the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau and Dachau. From survivor testimony, Maus recreates...

Race

Maus plays on the Nazi’s racist idea that Jews are less than human, “vermin,” by rendering the Jewish characters into mice. Germans, on the other hand, are represented as cats, Americans as...

Memory and the Past

At its heart, Maus is a story not only about memories being passed from one generation to another, but also about the impact that memories can have on the present. The novel wrestles with the issue...

Family

Maus offers up a family portrait complicated by the legacy of the Holocaust, where family bonds were tested and whole families wiped out. The novel delves into the culture clash between the Holocau...

Guilt and Blame

Maus tackles questions of guilt and blame on two levels: the individual and the collective. On an individual level, Holocaust survivors must come to terms with survivor’s guilt, their guilt over...

Morality and Ethics

Maus explores the consequences of a Nazi ideology that reduces Jews to the status of sub-humans, even animals, and thus subjects not worthy of ethical consideration. In the novel, the Holocaust gen...

Art and Culture

As a graphic novel, Maus reflects on the difficulty of representing the Holocaust. Art can be an intensely personal way to preserve the memory of those who died in the Holocaust. But any representa...
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