June 8, 2021 - Graphic Novel, Reviews
Author: Art Spiegelman
Publisher: Pantheon

The graphic novel Maus, by Art Spiegelman, depicts an insightful yet comedic storyline of Spiegelman’s father being interviewed on his time as a Holocaust survivor and the struggles he underwent being a Polish Jew. I thought that the novel was extremely creative using animals to depict the group that each person was a part of. This made the novel quite engaging and used imagery to enhance the story rather than distract from the text as a whole. For example, the Jews were depicted as mice, and the Germans were cats. This makes a ton of sense considering cats are known to prey on mice, the same way the Germans were targeting the Jews in the Holocaust. I also enjoyed Spiegelman adding little side conversations with his father, because it added humor and personality to the novel in my personal opinion, serving almost as a “break” from the heaviness that comes with a Holocaust story. This gives a sense for Spiegelman’s personality and makes the novel feel more realistic, like we are sitting down with Spiegelman’s father and listening to what he has to say. I believe that by using a graphic novel, complex topics are easier to digest because oftentimes, much like Maus, the graphics aid in telling the story. They aren’t too crazy or intricate, but they involve a bit of critical thinking themselves which adds a whole other layer to the graphic novel. If the text is hard to understand, one can turn to the visuals, and, for example, like in Maus, maybe somebody is struggling with the initial concept of the Holocaust but anybody can recognize that cats are after mice. This allows for further comprehension of the storyline.
—Justina Petrilli, CMRD101 Fall 2020