5 page paper, Maus

5 page paper, Maus - September 21, 2006 Freshmen Writing...

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September 21, 2006 Freshmen Writing Seminar Paper #1 Maus: A survivor’s Tale Stereotypical Portrayals It is easy for one to make generalizations about an animal; dogs are loyal, cats are independent, mice are dirty little rodents. The animals used to demonstrate the feelings and the stereotypes of the time of the Holocaust are impeccable. By using these animals, he can show how different people felt about and viewed other races in a way that may be less offensive than to just draw real humans who all share common stereotypes. By drawing Jews as mice and Germans as cats, Spiegelman speaks volumes to the reader about racial profiling without having to even write one line of text about stereotypes. When one thinks of a mouse, the first thing to come to mind is an adjective like helpless or another word along those lines. Mice are also positioned towards the bottom of the food chain. These two descriptions, helpless and bottom of the food chain could not be more fitting for the position of the Jewish race during the Holocaust. The Jewish people were constantly either hiding or on the run during the Holocaust. Many times during the novel, Jews depicted as mice are drawn hiding in small openings and tunnels, similar to mouse holes. An example of this is found on page 121 where once again mice are depicted as crawling through a tunnel carved out of a mountain of old shoes. The tunnel through which they crawl actually looks similar to the stereotypical mouse holes that appear in cat and mouse cartoons. By using the image of a mouse crawling through a small mouse hole, Spiegelman can exhibit to the reader the plight of the Jewish people
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much more explicitly than with regular prose. Spiegelman also plays on the racial stereotype of Jews being utterly helpless at the hands of the Nazis. Spiegelman can play upon the physical stereotypes of the Jewish race as well without offending anyone by translating these characteristics to those of a mouse. For instance, on page 136 and 137, a
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This essay was uploaded on 11/02/2007 for the course ENGL 1001 taught by Professor Perez,aman during the Fall '06 term at Colorado.

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5 page paper, Maus - September 21, 2006 Freshmen Writing...

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