Sunday, February 8, 2015

Week #1, Question Commander

Ryoung Kim
By Art Spiegelman
February 8, 2015
Week 1
Page 5-71

How would Maus change if the author used human figures instead of animals?
In my opinion, I think that the book will be less interesting by visual, by using human figures instead of animals. Also, I believe that visualizing with cats and animals was helpful for some people to understand the relationship between the Nazis and the Jews. For example, an image from page 62 clearly showed the fear of the mouse (Jew), due to the cats (Nazi). On the other hand, I think that the story would approach to us in a stronger way because it uses our kind as the characters. Also, I think it would call the readers to relate more on the Jew's feelings. 

How does Vladek feel about the hanging?
First of all, Vladek did not feel good at all about the hanging that happened. Because of the hanging, he did not go outside for a few days because he didn't want to pass where they were hanging (page 84). He also thought that there was a possibility of one of the hanged people could have told on him to the cats (Germans) to save themselves. On page 84, he claimed that the hanging still makes him cry. Due to this, the readers can clearly see that Vladek truly fears and cries when thinking of this coincidence.

Question 3: Why did the Nazis dislike the Jews? 
After the loss of WWI, Hitler thought that the Jews were the reason for the loss and the economy fell down because of them. Germany's economy fell down. Also, he thought that his mother died by one of the Jew doctor by accident. Due to this, Hitler did not have a good opinion on the Jews. 


  1. Ryoung,

    I loved you intriguing questions; it made me think a lot. First of all, the question that most interested me was the first one "How would Maus change if the characters were actual people?” In fact, I do not agree with your answer because making the characters human would only make the book more exciting and real. In my opinion, this is a great question because it makes you think deeply. Additionally, the answer to your question would be that Maus would become something with more emotion and stress. I would say this because people would notice how terrible the times were back then. To conclude with, I want to challenge you and think about how would Maus be seen if this book was a "not-true-story"?

  2. Ryoung, I think your first question is more thought-provoking than the other, and it makes you think instead of finding the answers in the book, but all three questions are good. I just think you could have added more to your last answer, since what you said about Hitlers mom and the economy are not the only reason he hated Jews. Also, I know you read ahead in the book, but your first question could be a spoiler for some people. All in all, you mostly had good questions and answers.

  3. Ryoung,

    I really liked the questions you came up with and shared with us in your informative post. I think that they made me think and reflect a lot about the part we read last week and understand the story a little better than before. My favorite question was your first one and I think that if Maus didn't have animals portraying the groups of people that were active during WWII, it wouldn't have been as successful as it is today, because some animals are directly related to those groups such as the Nazis, which are cats and the Jews, which are mice and cats hunt mice, just like the Nazis hunted Jews during the second world war.

    However, I'd like to point out that your second question is from a part that is further into the book, so I was slightly confused when I read it, but I came to an answer quickly. My theory is that you can find the answer to your question in Vladek's body language which is carefully portrayed in the image of the graphic novel (I believe). This is because authors often look to show and not tell what their characters are feeling. Do you think it's easier to "catch" this feeling, based on a character's body language in a written novel or a graphic one?

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  5. How would Maus change if the author used human figures instead of animals?

    If human figures were used the book would become a lot more gritty and violent. If this happened I doubt that we would be reading the book for school. I also agree with you these two animals were clearly chosen to help show the relationship between the Jews and the Nazi's and if they were swapped with humans the book would have a harder time getting its message across thus lower the quality of the book. I also believe that the book would become a less popular book becuase there are many books that document peoples struggles with WWII but none of them used animals to represent people. This is what set Muas apart and got people to read the book and give it popularity. Without this key part the book would not gain as much popularity and we might not be reading it right now.

  6. Ryoung,

    You had very interesting questions which provoked very deep reflections about the book inside me. I would like to respond to your first question. I believe that the reason that the author chose not to use humans and instead used animals was to make the book and the themes easier to understand by making it a bit comical. One example are the hangings. The reason that the author chose to use animals was because it is less gruesome and easier to take in the having multiple humans on the other end of the noose.

  7. Ryoung, I really liked your questions because they were actually really good, because everybody thinks they might be stupid questions making people end up never answering them. For question #1, I think that the story wouldn't be very interesting with the metaphors the mouses imply. The cats are the Nazis, and the Jews are the mouses, leading to a cat chasing a mouse metaphor, with the pigs (germans) being just the characters watching everything. So, just like you, I think the graphic novel wouldn't have been interesting at all. I think you did a great post!

  8. Ryoung,
    I really liked your first question although I disagreed with your answer to it. Although is is true that the mice make the look of the book a little more unique, I think that the deeper reason for using mice was to make the book a little less serious and therefore help it reach a larger audience. Overall, I think that your post had some good questions. Thank you for helping me think deeper about the book,
    Katie Wagner

  9. How would Maus change if the author used human figures instead of animals?

    I agree that the book would be less interesting and it would be less helpful for understanding the book in general. It would probably be a less successful because now it is easy for adults and kids to understand. Without the visual part, mostly only adults would understand. I think if the author used humans it would make the book boring because there would be less creativity. Then, I think there would be no point in making this book a comic because there wouldn't be another way to “read” the story.

  10. Ryoung,
    I thought all of the 3 questiones that you came up with were creative, especially the first one. "How would Maus change if the author used human figures instead of animals?" As you said, I think Maus would have completely changed if the author used human figures instead of animals. The fact that they are refereed as animals, catches the readers attention, and makes the book much more interesting. Furthermore, the drawings on each page helps us visualize the situation. As you said in your answer, in reality cats have more power than mouses do. I think that is the reason why the author made the Jews into mouses and the Nazis into cats. It is giving the idea that cats are taking over mouses. For these reasons, I thought Maus was more of an easier story to understand than Presepolis, because of the authors creative idea to refer the human characters as specific animals.

  11. Ryoung, your questions made me think a lot, and I’m going to answer the first question: “How would Maus change if the author used human figures instead of animals?” I think it’d be more realistic and humorless if the author used human figures, because the author used animals for readers to know the actual fact without resistance. And I really agree with your opinion that the visualising with cats and rats was very helpful for readers to understand the relationship between the Nazis and the Jews, because rats are eaten by cats and the Nazis dislike the Jews. Therefore, the way the author represented the Jews’ feeling was very good idea.