Vladek's Maus Analysis

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Approximately 6 million Jews died in Hitler’s concentration camps. The only way to comprehend this horror is through hearing a survivor’s story. Art Spiegelman 's comic book, Maus, guides the reader through Vladek’s firsthand experience in the Holocaust. The author retells Vladek’s story exploring the themes of identity, fear, power dynamics, imprisonment, horrific nostalgia, and how the past shapes the future. The use of imagery, framing, and wording explain the underlying themes in the story. The climax of Vladek’s story is when he and his wife Anja are fleeing Poland and the Gestapo catches them. They are then taken to Auschwitz, which was their greatest fear. The techniques in this section enhance the themes and help end the book with…show more content…
Everything in the background is hazy out, leaving the visual emphasis on the silhouettes captured mice with their hands raised in surrender. The color black is often associated with mourning, which is linked to sadness. Having character colored in completely with black shows that the character is overcome with sadness. Since this imagery is happening after they were captured, it 's linked to the theme of imprisonment. While on the truck headed for Auschwitz, all characters except for Anja and Vladek had darkly shaded faces (panels 2-3 Spiegelman 157). The harsh shading on faces suggests despair and resignation which leads to the theme of imprisonment. The last key element in the imagery is the use of borders. In Maus, there are two timelines occurring, one in the 1940’s, and one in the 1970’s. At the time when this book was published, the 1970’s would have been considered to be the present which makes the following intriguing. Panels that occur in the 1970’s have no borders while the panels that take place in the 1940’s have borders. One of the reasons for this is because the past has a definite shape, it already happened. The present is what’s happening now, therefore it has no definite

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