#1  
Old 06-20-2009, 04:02 PM
Has anyone read the mouse epic "Maus"

That book really got to me, I felt really bad for the mouse jews
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  #2  
Old 06-20-2009, 04:13 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philanidas View Post
That book really got to me, I felt really bad for the mouse jews
Heh, well I guess it was supposed to do that...

I actually just read Maus I & II a few weeks back. The two volumes probably constitute the best graphic literature I've encountered. Hell, Art Spiegelman did win the Pulitzer from 'em. It's definitely unique in its portrayal of the Holocaust, and that extends well beyond simply portraying certain nationalities and ethnicities as different creatures.
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  #3  
Old 06-20-2009, 04:21 PM
I thought it was amazing at how each animal was symbolic to each of the countries that took part in WW2.

This may have been done to appeal to a younger generation of readers, yet still telling a story of survival and death during the Holocaust. But instead of fully detaching the reader from the book, he shows a human aspect by illustrating how his father tells his story and by showing the emotions and relationships of the characters throughout.
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  #4  
Old 06-20-2009, 06:16 PM
Maus is one of these things I've been meaning to revisit for the longest time. I read both several years ago, but now remember almost nothing of them, aside from the emotional impact they delivered. I know I have both in my house, need to get back to them.
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  #5  
Old 06-21-2009, 12:14 AM
Along with being a very accurate historical source for what it was like in the concentration camps, also about being a Jew who survived and the families of the survivors it is just a damn good read.

I recommend it to anyone and everyone. I'm sure the graphic novel aspect turns a lot of serious readers off but it really does work well. It adds a whole level of symbolism that you just couldn't get with the written word.
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  #6  
Old 06-21-2009, 03:04 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philanidas View Post
I thought it was amazing at how each animal was symbolic to each of the countries that took part in WW2.

This may have been done to appeal to a younger generation of readers, yet still telling a story of survival and death during the Holocaust. But instead of fully detaching the reader from the book, he shows a human aspect by illustrating how his father tells his story and by showing the emotions and relationships of the characters throughout.
I don't think appealing to the kiddies was the point, Spiegleman was playing off of the long-standing tradition of the "beast fable", using fairy tale elements and talking animals as a safe way to make pointed social commentary. The individual animal creatures are reductive metaphors; the Nazis used to refer to the Jews as "vermin" and the Poles as "swine", for example. Of course, as we see in the comic, ethnic identity is really nothing more than an illusion. Everyone is wearing masks, and the value of the masks is so relative that they can be interchanged or disguised.

For example, while on the run the Jewish characters wear pig masks to represent their passing as Poles, representing how easily many Jews could pass as non-Jews, which undermines the basic concept of racial demographics as they were viewed at the time. Race is nothing more than an act we put on or an identify we conciously assume. Spiegleman's French wife is drawn as a mouse because of her relation to him despite the fact that her conversion was all for show. People percieve things as they expect or as they feel they should be instead of neccesarily how they really are. In one of the most pogniant examples, the German camp prisoner insists that he is not a Jew and should be released. In the panel we see him as a mouse, but then in the nex panel as a cat. If the difference between the races were really as broad as the Nazis and others would have us believe, we could no more mistake a Jew for a gentile as we could a cat for a mouse, but as we see in this scene, the lines between those distinctions are in acutality blurry and sometimes nonexistant.

We see the world as a cosmopolitan mass of different races, ethnicities, and nationalities, but "Maus" shows us that these are merely masks we wear, like children playing games and picking sides on teams. But in "Maus", the masks never come off. Are we all human underneath our disguises, or do we as a society still lack the conviction to remove them and see?
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  #7  
Old 06-22-2009, 02:02 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ender View Post
I don't think appealing to the kiddies was the point, Spiegleman was playing off of the long-standing tradition of the "beast fable", using fairy tale elements and talking animals as a safe way to make pointed social commentary. The individual animal creatures are reductive metaphors; the Nazis used to refer to the Jews as "vermin" and the Poles as "swine", for example. Of course, as we see in the comic, ethnic identity is really nothing more than an illusion. Everyone is wearing masks, and the value of the masks is so relative that they can be interchanged or disguised.

For example, while on the run the Jewish characters wear pig masks to represent their passing as Poles, representing how easily many Jews could pass as non-Jews, which undermines the basic concept of racial demographics as they were viewed at the time. Race is nothing more than an act we put on or an identify we conciously assume. Spiegleman's French wife is drawn as a mouse because of her relation to him despite the fact that her conversion was all for show. People percieve things as they expect or as they feel they should be instead of neccesarily how they really are. In one of the most pogniant examples, the German camp prisoner insists that he is not a Jew and should be released. In the panel we see him as a mouse, but then in the nex panel as a cat. If the difference between the races were really as broad as the Nazis and others would have us believe, we could no more mistake a Jew for a gentile as we could a cat for a mouse, but as we see in this scene, the lines between those distinctions are in acutality blurry and sometimes nonexistant.

We see the world as a cosmopolitan mass of different races, ethnicities, and nationalities, but "Maus" shows us that these are merely masks we wear, like children playing games and picking sides on teams. But in "Maus", the masks never come off. Are we all human underneath our disguises, or do we as a society still lack the conviction to remove them and see?
I agree that this novel was not meant for kiddies, I was thinking more of high school kids who can be appealed to the metaphorical side of the story, as well as respecting the historically accurate storyline. I was trying to make a point that this novel can relly get kids interested into history as well as great literature.
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  #8  
Old 06-22-2009, 01:05 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philanidas View Post
I agree that this novel was not meant for kiddies, I was thinking more of high school kids who can be appealed to the metaphorical side of the story, as well as respecting the historically accurate storyline. I was trying to make a point that this novel can relly get kids interested into history as well as great literature.
But again, no part of this novel, metaphorically or otherwise, was intended to act as some educational pandering to any specific age group.
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  #9  
Old 06-23-2009, 11:17 PM
I hope to see the day 'Maus' and 'Watchmen' are taught in high school.
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  #10  
Old 06-23-2009, 11:59 PM
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Originally Posted by John Law View Post
I hope to see the day 'Maus' and 'Watchmen' are taught in high school.
'Watchmen'? Really?

Both volumes of 'Maus' are already taught in many high schools.
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  #11  
Old 06-24-2009, 01:33 AM
Both "Maus" and "Watchmen" frequent college bookstores, and yes, "Maus" often makes it into high school curriculums too thanks to the accesbility and ease of reading combined with the emotional power. Along with "Schindler's List" and "The Diary of Anne Frank", it's one of the best ways for we later generations to even begin to understand the experience of the Holocaust. "Watchmen" probably doesn't make it into high schools very often on account of its value is more in terms of story telling structure and literary theory, which is more suited for college.
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  #12  
Old 06-24-2009, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Homyrrh View Post
'Watchmen'? Really?
Absolutely. It's a book that would have stuck with me, that would have made me ponder nuclear annihilation in ways beyond 'The Day After,' that would have made me appreciate brilliant characterization and dialogue, that would have shown me what story structure is all about. Basically, all the things my high school English class are supposed to instill in me.

Alas, 'Watchmen' came out after I graduated, but still ...
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  #13  
Old 11-24-2010, 10:01 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Law View Post
I hope to see the day 'Maus' and 'Watchmen' are taught in high school.
I teach juniors and seniors in a Texas High School, and an excerpt from Maus is in our textbook.

Hope that makes you feel good.

As for Maus itself, it had been built up a lot before I read it. I loved it, but was a bit let down in parts. But there were a few moments where I felt it was very powerful, and I would call it a modern masterpiece.
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