Maus, by Art Spiegelman
Why were the Germans drawn in the book as cats?
The fact that the Jews are drawn as mice and the Germans are drawn as cats doesn’t come as a surprise. Cats are known to haunt, they are bigger, stronger and eat mice, as mice are known to be small and helpless. Like the cats, the Nazis haunt, torture and kill the helpless Jews symbolizing the obvious "cat and mouse" metaphor that is seen in cartoons, like Tom and Jerry. In cartoons like that, the cat always hunts the mouse. This is what Art Spiegelman tried to show in his comic. The cat is a symbol for superiority and the mouse is inferior.
What themes have you gotten from the book so far?
The themes that I have gotten from the book so far are survival and luck. Firstly, Vladek's experiences in the Holocaust represent a constant struggle to survive, first as his factory and income are taken away, then as the Jews are sent into the ghettos, and ultimately the nightmare of getting to his family. And as the struggle intensifies, the will to survive begins to break the strong bonds of friendship, and a common Jewish identity.
Is the book chronological? Why?
The book is not chronological because it is told as a life story. Vladek tells his experiences to his beloved son, Spiegelman. Because of that, the book goes back and forth from happenings, because Vladek explains them and starts other stories. An example on page 38-40. was telling how his family was going to flee from the Nazis, he drops his pills, and goes off telling a different story of how his eye is glass. Because of that, the story isn’t chronological.