Monday, October 12, 2009

mixed portrayals

Art Spiegelman clearly uses animals to represent different social/ethnic groups throughout his novel Maus. The mice clearly represent the Jewish race, and the Germans are obviously conveyed as cats. A more shadowed relationship however, is the one between the dogs and the Americans in the novels. After the end of the Holocaust, American GI's [dogs] are deployed to aid the remaining Jews [mice] (Maus II, 111). However, if we look at the appearances of the dog during the Holocaust, we see that they are used by the Germans to intimidate and subdue the Jews within the concentration camps (Maus I, 157). If we look at the dogs' appearances in the "modern day", we find that they are all civil servants of some kind--bankers (Maus I, 126), police officers (Maus II, 113), and doctors (Maus II, 127). Is it merely coincidence that dogs were used in such starkly different portrayals? Considering Spiegelman's past and current life, what could this suggest about his perception of Americans before the war, after the war, and currently?


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