Finn Price/Staff reporter 

Maus by Art Spiegelman is a graphic novel which details his father’s experiences in World War II Poland and shows how hard it was to survive. 

The book is a fascinating depiction of being Jewish during World War II showing that no matter who you were, you were just a Jew. It creates a deep attachment to the characters to the point of feeling their pain, fear and rare moments of happiness. It’s an important book that tells the story of a rich Jewish man who loses nearly everything just because of his religion. 

The story follows Vladek Spiegelman, Art’s father, who is a rich young businessman who lost everything to the war. After having his factory taken over by the Nazis, Vladek and his family are systematically oppressed and forced into hiding by the Nazis.  

Vladek Spiegelman 

In the beginning of the war, Vladek finds business elsewhere by smuggling sugar, eggs and other rare foods. He had a lucrative business until three other smugglers, one of whom was an acquaintance of his, were publicly hung. The fear of being ratted out by his friend drove him away from smuggling and caused him to rely more on his pre-war wealth. 

Spiegelman uses striking visuals with a rough black and white art style which is intense and allows for harsh visuals to be conveyed well such as that of Aushwitz. The book also uses symbolism of the Jewish people as mice, the Polish as pigs and the Nazis as cats. Spiegelman draws the Jews as mice, the vermin of society, rats who steal and hurt society, and during the war, that’s how they were treated. The cats are symbolic of the hunters of mice, they clean the society of vermin. 

Striking visual symbolism and art style 

This book is driven by the constant worry for Vladek and his wife Anja as they struggle to survive during a war in which millions of their people were massacred. Maus is best described as a dystopian thriller, the fear and struggle is dystopian and strange for us, and the worry and anxiety is thriller-esc. 

In the end, Vladek and his wife Anja escape with their lives intact but forever scarred by the atrocities they witnessed. Maus is an amazing book with a crushing constant sense of impending doom and the fear of getting caught.