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Graphic Novels as Philosophy$
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Jeff McLaughlin

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781496813275

Published to University Press of Mississippi: May 2019

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496813275.001.0001

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The Minor Machinery of Animal Packs: Becoming as Survival in Spiegelman’s Maus

The Minor Machinery of Animal Packs: Becoming as Survival in Spiegelman’s Maus

Chapter:
(p.150) The Minor Machinery of Animal Packs: Becoming as Survival in Spiegelman’s Maus
Source:
Graphic Novels as Philosophy
Author(s):

Corry Shores

Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781496813275.003.0008

This chapter demonstrates how one of the most striking features of Art Spiegelman's Maus are the characters' cartoon animal forms: Nazis are cats, Jews are mice, Poles are pigs, Americans are dogs, Brits are fish, the French are frogs, and Swedes are deer. However, his purpose was not to sanitize or “banalize” the Holocaust. Rather, the implementation of the animal forms serves as a shockingly evocative device that attests to the power of graphic novels as a means of persuasive communication and artistic expression. The chapter shows how a people's “becoming animal” is not something that degrades them, but is rather an instance of their having admirable skills at survival in trying circumstances.

Keywords:   Art Spiegelman, Maus, animal forms, Holocaust, graphic novels, artistic expression, survival

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