Authour: Art Spiegelman
I have seen it all, I have lived through it, I am a survivor of the terrible Holocaust. I can remember it all vividly, as if it happened yesterday. I was a young man when it all started, I owned a successful factory and lived with my wife Anja. I had a good life, but then the Nazi party took power. The first time I saw the Nazi takeover with my own eyes was when Anja had fallen ill and I took her to the Sanitarium. We were on a train and we passed by a town with Nazi flags and soldiers everywhere, despising the Jews in every way possible. Ever since then, we were on the run to survive. We had returned to our town and I received a letter from the government; requesting I join the army. I was in the army for a short time but I was soon taken as a POW. I stayed in the POW camp and worked daily for several months until I was finally released. I instantly returned to my family and lived happily for a short time with my father-in-law. This is where we started losing our family and surviving. Everyone in town was called to meet in the stadium and be registered. We were all registered into two groups, most of us made it together; however, my father and my brother were sent to the bad side and never seen again. The rest of us went back to Sosnowiec along with the other Jews who made it to the good side. Soon after, an order was passed which forced all Jews living in Sosnowiec to be moved to Srodula. All Jews marched to and from work daily until the Nazis decided to evacuate everyone to concentration camps. We acted fast and built bunkers in our house to hide from the Nazis. We hid for a quite a while until we moved to another house. Here we built another bunker but were ratted out by a wandering Jew. We were arrested and saved by from being shipped off in a van from our cousin Haskel. We lived with Haskel until the Nazis started removing all Jews; so we hid in a bunker the workers had secretly made along with 15 other Jews. We were never found, but the food supply ran out rather quickly so me and Anja left the bunker and headed back to Sosnowiec. We had help from a few nice Polish citizens, while we were almost caught by disrespectful citizens. Finally we had decided to pay some smugglers to get us to Hungary; but once we paid them the money and boarded the train, Nazi soldiers stopped the train and took our valuables. They then huddled us into a van and transported us to the concentration camp Auschwitz. Me and Anja were separated and I waited with the other prisoners until my fate was decided.
Point of View in Narrative
Perspective: 3rd person omniscient
Narrative: 1st person
Motifs & Symbolism
The most noticeable symbol in Maus would be that the characters are represented by animals rather than humans.
The Jews are represented by mice, the Nazis are represented by cats, and the polish are represented by pigs
The author used cats and mice to show the rivalry between the Jews and Nazis in a way that children could understand.
The figurative language was used very well to show how long Vladek and his wife had gone without food and how long they remained in hiding in a bunker
Use and Effectiveness of Figurative Language
Vladek is the sickly father of Artie Spiegelman who despises his past but still tells his son everything he endured during the Holocaust
Artie is the intelligent and curious son of Vladek who will do anything to get the details he needs for his story
Anja is the concerned and worrisome mother of Artie and loving wife of Vladek, she would repeatedly fall under a depression throughout the story which eventually led to her suicide
Structure & Organization
The author decided to constantly interrupt Vladek’s stories with a brief event concerning Vladek's health to remind the reader of all the trouble and pain he endured
Copy edit decisions
During the events leading up to the Holocaust, the panel number was usually 6 panels per page, it changed during the events of the Holocaust to 8 pages a page
Who were the people at the start of their Holocaust story versus at the end of it?
Vladek at the start of the story was a strong willed man who wouldn’t stop fighting to survive. At the end of it, he is a sickly old man who is constantly haunted by his past and repeatedly gets into fights with his wife.
Was there any evidence of their experience affecting others in their lives directly or indirectly? If so, how?
Yes, Vladek’s experience of the Holocaust changed him as an individual which made him act more aggressive to his modern day wife than he did to his past wife.
Did reading this book make you think differently about the Holocaust experience? If so, how? Why?
Yes it did, it showed me the extent some people would go in order to prevent themselves from being captured, such as building and hiding inside bunkers in their own home.
Would you recommend this book to others?
Absolutely, this is a good book for anyone due to the compelling story and lovable characters.