Maus Elements

956 Words Sep 21st, 2015 4 Pages
Art Spiegelman’s Maus is a famous, Pulitzer Prize winning tale about the journey of a Jewish Holocaust survivor. Despite the amount of similar storylines, Spiegelman’s creativity with the normal elements of comics has won him high praise. This analysis will focus on Spiegelman’s unique twist on icons, layouts, diegesis, abstraction, and encapsulation as displayed by Maus. Icons are pictures that are used to embody a person, place, thing, or idea. McCloud hammers this concept home by drawing random things, such as a cow (McCloud, pg. 26), but reminds the reader that it is technically not a real cow. It is just an image.
In Maus, Spiegelman’s characters are icons; he utilizes everyday, commonplace animals to represent the humans in
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Additionally, by including less detail, Spiegelman makes his characters easier to relate to, or as McCloud references, more universal. After Vladek recalls the hanging of a few of his associates, Spiegelman illustrates a very plain, bleak image of him mourning their loss in present day. The image consists of the most basic character features, making it effortless for the reader to mentally input their face on Vladek’s. Overall, this “amplification through simplification” (McCloud), aids the reader in feeling the emotion of the character, finding a deeper connection to the story as a whole, and can reveal universal truths. The layout of a comic is the relationship between one panel to the rest of the panels in the sequence, the page, and the rest of the book. Spiegelman constructs the layout of his panels to bring his story to life. When Vladek is telling the story about the mandatory registration of all Jews, which led to the disappearance of many close friends (pg. 91), Spiegelman places Vladek at the bottom right hand corner of the page. This establishes the imagery of the boxes weighing down on him in present time, as he appears to be struggling to get through the story and contain his emotions. Furthermore, when Anja’s father is telling Vladek that the Germans intend on making an example of the Jews who ran the black market. Spiegelman enlarges the panel of the Jews hanging in the town center, and depicts their dangling feet in the two panels below (page 83),

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