Essay on Animals in 'Maus'

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The author of Maus, Art Spiegelman, shows different ethnicities and nationalities utilizing animals as allegorical symbols or categories. The creatures in Maus are useful for two main purposes for us as readers: showing us the racist themes in the book in a humorous way and still maintaining the seriousness that it deserves.

The frog is extremely symbolic of France and this community has some hostility to Great Britain as a country. It would logically make sense to depict the British community, and individuals within England, as fish. When Americans talk about British, it is common to say “fish and chips.” Also, there is a vast display of lakes, oceans, and swamps where fishing is dominant among the Brits. It is not only a culinary reference to depict Brits with fish, however, their geographical location and demographics play a major role as well. Great Britain is an island, and fishing is one of the major sources of income for the economy of Great Britain. Without having fishermen and searching for aquatic sources of revenue, ones that are only based on water activities, the economy of Great Britain is in danger of collapsing. The country of England, needless to say, lacks a tremendous amount of natural resources and manpower that most nations across the world possess, making England a poorer nation compared to its counterparts. Therefore, relying on fishing and water-based means of income may be the best method to sustain the British economy, even though, the country must unify and search for different sustenance methods. Perhaps, they may require land-based monetary methods, increasing their country’s national wealth and preventing any deficit spending on their part. There are many more income sources on land compared to water, and depending on both avenues of wealth scatters the resources and diversifies the risks associated with investing at a federal level. Therefore, the fish are a logical and sensible animal allegory to portray the British population as a whole.

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The Gypsy community can best be defined as nomadic individuals who do not have a permanent dwelling, or residence to call their home. Their sense of belonging, self-worth, and value of the community originates from their sense of friendship and unity among their group. Regardless of the type of historical roots that individual Gypsies may carry and personal life experiences and subtle cultural differences, they all belong to the same category and can best be classified as Gypsies, or nomads. Art Spiegelman depicts Gypsies as moths because their clothing often consists of moths and insects. They need a source of revenue for their community, which is best done by selling clothes with the help of local street vendors, and small-scale businesses, and fostering communal support and cooperation. There is no national government or central ruling power to dictate, set boundaries, or even offer the slightest assistance during times of hardships and crises within this population. Therefore, as a community, they rely on selling their clothes, used and refurbished, and are often associated with Gypsy moths for this particular rationale.

Spiegelman shows the various countries and members within the nation differently with interesting animals. These are constant themes that are in the whole text of Persepolis and make the way the Holocaust is portrayed more intriguing for us readers to listen to Art and Vladek's anecdotes in Maus. The humor is liked a lot and the grim reality and seriousness of the genocide is not valued less at all. This unusual way to convince people across the whole wide world makes everyone more interested in learning about the cultural roots of a nation regarding the Holocaust.

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Essay on Animals in ‘Maus’. (2024, February 28). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 12, 2024, from
“Essay on Animals in ‘Maus’.” Edubirdie, 28 Feb. 2024,
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