Monday, March 9, 2015

Literary Analysis blogpost #4 Juho

  1.  Maus is a racist book?

    This book, Maus, is a lot like to all books many people have read in the past 7 months. The theme is a lot to do with the holocaust which is otherwise communism or facism specifically. The book is about Artie, the writer, writing and hearing a story about his father, Vladek who is a holocaust survivor. Vladek , the protagonist had a wife named Anja who survived during  WWII but died 4 years later from depression. Then after he married another wife named Mala, who also a holocaust survivor. Now that the book has ended readers can see the themes of the book. There are many themes to this book as the reader can see.

     maus characters
    One theme from the book as readers can see was about race and what the Nazis thought of the jews, homo-sexuals, gypsies, and others. 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 dogs, and Poles as pigs. Maus doesn’t use these animal figures to present a simplistic moral tableau where all the Germans are evil and all the Jews are good. Instead, the novel uses these animal figures to show how race is not reducible to one characteristic or another (Maus). There are good mice and bad mice, good pigs and bad pigs, good cats and evil cats, and so forth. In fact, just as the Jews “passed” as Poles or Germans as a way to survive, the novel plays with its own animal allegory, presenting human beings wearing mouse masks or mice wearing pig masks. The novel also considers how racial stereotypes still operate in society today, bringing up the troubling question of whether we as a society have learned anything from the experience of the Holocaust. 

    Another theme is about the holocaust which is warfare. Maus presents World War II largely from the perspective of Jewish survivors who were imprisoned in the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau and Dachau (Spiegelman). From survivor testimony, Maus recreates concentration camp life – from the brutal labor conditions to the infamous gas chambers, where it is estimated that almost a million prisoners died in Auschwitz alone (Maus). Maus also tracks the psychological effect of camp life on the individuals involved. Rather than presenting either the guards as uniformly evil or the prisoners as uniformly good, we get a full range of human behavior – cowardice and sadism, certainly, but also heroism and moral strength.

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