Analysis Of Maus 's ' Maus '

1779 Words Dec 8th, 2014 8 Pages
Josh Feldman
English 101
Professor Macleod
December 7th, 2014

Animalization and Identity in Maus

Art Spiegelman utilizes animals as characters in Maus to great effect. His decision to use animals instead of people is an important one; by representing racial and national groups in a non-normative fashion, he focuses the reader’s attention on the concept of identity, a concept that is often times entirely taken for granted. Identity, and the process by which one’s identity may be formed, is multi-faceted. On occasion, this can be simple. For instance, Vladek is Jewish, and identifies as such, even admittedly conforming to a good deal of the stereotypes, such as miserliness, and is descended from a long line of Jews However, even for someone like Vladek, who never for a moment questions his identity in point of fact, the matter of identity can become complicated; there are times when he has to disguise himself as a gentile Pole to avoid racist persecution and for reasons of survival, making the transformation from mouse to pig in the context of the graphic memoir. During this time of disguise, the transformation is visually rendered by Spiegelman by having Vladek put on a pig mask; Spiegelman, as an artist, takes full advantage of his character’s animalization: species are easily identified, and subsequently categorized by the human mind quickly. For others, however, their identities are not so fixed, not so firmly established. The author’s wife, Francois, is French, but…

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