Sunday, November 20, 2011


A male student just paraded down the hallway brandishing a dead mouse rolled in paper, reminding me that I need to write a review of "Maus" by Art Spiegelman.

"Murderer" is the word that sticks out in this book, but it's applied to unexpected people, not the Nazis or Nazi collaborators, but Art Spiegelman's parents. I'm confused and intrigued. I need to read the 2nd Maus book and hopefully Spiegelman's complex relationship with his parents, who survived the Holocaust, will become more clear.

"Maus" is a graphic novel, originally published in 1973. People always put it on a pedestal as one of the essential graphic novels, probably because its success catapulted graphic novels to a new level, gaining higher respect for this important art form.

In the book, Jews are depicted as mice, Germans as cats and Poles as pigs. I read on Amazon that many reviewers were offended by Spiegelman's choice of animal to represent Poles. In my opinion, if people blow up minor details and choose to be offended, those details will overshadow the ones people should pay attention to, like the emotion conveyed on the faces of the athropophormic animals, the undying love the father feels for his wife, and the beautiful broken English the father employs, adding to his impish childlike demeanor.

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