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September Seventeenth

Page history last edited by Sue Muecke 10 years, 4 months ago

Making Sense of the Senseless: Rhetorically Analyzing Maus




Maus: A Survivor's Tale


What's the Argument?


The Continuing Holocaust

The argument of the novel revolves around survival. Even though Spiegelman’s father, Vladek, was alive after the Holocaust, he wasn’t what you would call a survivor.


Survival of the Jewish People

In the Maus I and II, Art Spiegleman is trying to give you an idea about how the Jewish culture survived during the holocaust.


An overriding argument that I saw within the reading was posed as more of a question: What does it mean to survive?


I believe that the purpose of this graphic novel, or at least what Art Spiegelman is trying to convey is not about the survival of the characters, but the struggle that and the fight that each one gave to try to survive the mortal dangers that surrounded them day and night. By that I mean that as we saw, not everybody survived, many died, some of them even killed them-selves, but each of them tried to get at least one more day of life each day.


A New Way of Viewing the Holocaust

Spiegelman’s purpose in writing this graphic novel was to give people a real story, first hand of what it was like and he did a great job of exposing and describing it.


Art Spiegelman used Maus as a tool to help readers experience the holocaust in a watered down fashion...

Finding Goodness Through the Horror

More importantly however, it is a story about how one man's love for his wife kept him fighting through all the torment and struggles he had to go through to survive just to see her face one more time, not ever knowing if that one more time will be the last time they ever see each other. 



"Favorite" Moments


Striking Imagery

The scene that hit me the hardest through both graphic novels would have to be in Maus II where Vladek is diagnosed with Typhus and is traveling across the corridor to use the bathroom. The floor was covered with dead bodies that it was inevitable to step on them, and Vladek says, “Now I will be laying like this ones and somebody will step on me” (pg 95).


On page 12 of Maus I, there is a close up picture of Vladek pedaling and tattooed numbers are visible on his wrist. In any story about the Holocaust and concentration camps, the numbers that were tattooed on the Jews have always disturbed me because in the eyes of the Nazis, Jews were not people. They were only numbers. When I noticed that Spiegelman included this, it gave the story more validity in my eyes.


The part that affected me the most, which really stuck in my head, was when Vladek was on the train to Germany and they shoved hundreds of people into a small space. Knowing that someone had to go through something like that is sickening. 


The picture on page 72 shows many of Jews burning in a oven as one Jew prisoner explains how they had to scoop and pour the fat burning from their bodies back on to them so they could burn better (Maus II ). This to me is one of the most horrifying pictures.


Rare Moments of Joy

The part of the novel I enjoyed the most is when the war is over and Vlakek finally meet up with Anja. This was my favorite part because it was the happiest moment in the novel and it showed the readers that no matter how bad things get, there is always hope. 


I would have to say that my favorite scene from the book was from at the end of Maus II, when the last picture was of Vladek and Anja both had a tombstone and they were finally together again.

Graphics and Style

I really loved the way that this novel was illustrated, the black and white really makes you feel I think that someone what the people lived throughout the holocaust, because the dark colors makes it feel like they were living a dull life.


Irony and/or Juxtaposition

My favorite, or a better put would be most touching, parts of Maus would have to be the part where Art is trying to figure out which animal Françoise should be, because I thought the explaination for her being a mouse was pretty funny, especially since this story is a very serious one, and I believe it was a good source of realistic comic relief.


Putting It All Together...


...a thesis for a rhetorical analysis of Maus: A Survivor's Tale 





X, Y, Z, Q =



Thesis Statement =




Assignment for Monday:

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