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Maus is a biography since Art Spiegelman is telling the true story of his father's experience in the Holocaust. The book also follows Art's relationship with his father, which is told right from Art's point of view.
The medium of Maus is a comic book/graphic novel. This means that it has pictures, captions, as well as thought and speech bubbles. The pictures help show the conditions of Auschwitz and the Holocaust and the thought bubbles show what each characters was thinking, which gave more sides and depth to the book and Holocaust situation.
Because the two stories are intertwined in this book (Vladeks survival and Art and his father relationship while writing the book), both Art and Vladek are the protagonists. When Vladek shares his story of survival, the reader is focused on his and when Art is talking to Vladek outside the survivor story, the reader is more focused on him. The protagonist is also usually the person behind the first person point of view (if the book is in first person). Therefore, Vladek is the "first person" in the survival story, and Art is the "first person" in the other story.
When does this story take place?
1940s and 1970s
What did the different animals represent?
Americans=dog(trumped the germans just like dogs trump cats and americans were loyal like dogs and helped save the jews)
The Germans, specifically the german soldiers in the camps and Nazis, are the antagonists because they are trying to keep Vladek (protagonist) and thousands of other prisoners trapped and put down so low that they are thought of as animals. They do this by torturing, mocking, and killing the prisoners.
Art develops Vladek as a prisoner in the Holocaust by showing his actions and how he reacts to the different events in the camps. Since Maus is also a graphic novel, Art was able to draw Vladek and white what he was thinking and saying in speech and thought bubbles.
Page 50 gives an example of a juxtapose by showing a prisoner who claimed he was Jewish as both a cat and a mouse. Art does this because since the prisoner said he was German, he may have felt he should have better treatment and even be on the other side as a German soldier. However, he turns back into a mouse when Vladek said the prisoner was a Jew.
vladeks entire Holocaust story is a flashback since he is telling Art of his time back as a prisoner in the Holocaust. In present time, Art is asking for this flashback story in order to write his book.
Art depicts the people for the most part as animals to show how the germans put them down until they really felt like animals. The germans were also cats to show how they had power over the jews, who were shown as mice because a cat usually has the power over a mouse. In some points in the book, Art was only wearing a mouse mask to show how he himself wasn't really in the holocaust, which made him guilty about writing the book. Flies were also around Art sometimes to show how his guilt (that he shouldn't be the one writing the books since he wasn't actually in the holocaust) was always bothering him.
Maus includes Arts father's story of his survival as a prisoner of the holocaust and the story of Art writing his book and asking his father for his holocaust story, which showed the relationship they had.
On page 82, Vladek sees someone get shot and compares it to a time in his youth when his neighbor shot his dog (neighbors). when Valdek sees this he says, "How amazing is it that a human being reacts the same like this neighbors dog." Valued compares specifically the reaction of the human after he is shot the the dogs reaction because it may help Vladek be able to take it if he thinks the human is a dog and further shows how prisoners were treated as animals.
In Maus, Jews are shown as mice, while Germans are shown as cats. This shows the power that the Germans had over the Jews and how they would ultimately end up killing the Jews, just lime a cat chases mice, catches and may eat/kill them. This also shows how the germans wanted the jews to be exterminated just like cats are used to exterminate mice. Art also uses other kinds of animals to show all the different groups of people involved in the Holocaust.
Just as in almost every story, Maus had a plot structure in both stories.
In the story about Art and his fathers relationship:
Exposition: Art got a phone call from his dad saying that mala (his second wife) left him so art and francoiuse (arts wife) go to visit him in Rego Park
Rising Action: things that happen while art stayed with his father
Climax: Vladek had to travel to the hospital in Florida
Falling Action: Vladek getting out of the hospital
Resolution: Art visiting his father one last time to learn the end of his survivors story
In Vladek's Holocaust story:
Exposition: Arriving in Auschwitz
Rising Action: Vladeks journey in Auschwitz and traveling to different camps
Climax: The Americans coming and the Germans having to pack up all of the camps and bring the prisoners to germany. Refugees then being freed and having to hid until Americans came. American coming
Rising Action: Vladek staying with the Americans until he gets citizen papers. Then going to refugee camp and learning Anja is alive and in Sonoweic
Resolution: Anja and Vladek reunited
Character traits of young vladek were resourceful, clever and helpful. He was resourceful because he kept food he didn't eat to trade for other things he'd need in the future. He was clever and knew how to do a lot of things which gave him many jobs at a higher level. He was helpful toward other which in return, got help from those he helped.
Old Vladek is more stingy and gets annoyed about small things such as two salts being opened. This made art get into many arguments. However, the war taught him to be resourceful and not waste which is how he might have become this way.
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