Detail the effectiveness of Maus in telling a Holocaust story.

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Art Spiegelman’s two-volume Maus was written (and drawn, Spiegelman being a cartoonist and prominent member of the “underground” comics community) as something of a cathartic experience in the author’s effort at better understanding his father, a difficult man with whom Art had had a complicated relationship. This is hardly unusual, but in this case, their relationship was influenced by the fact of Vladek Spiegelman’s experiences during the Holocaust.

As readers of Maus know, Art Spiegelman used animals as metaphors for the various categories of humanity depicted in his story of Vladek’s survival in Nazi death camps. Europe’s Jews are depicted as mice, the Germans as cats (dominant tormentors of mice), Poles as pigs, British as fish, and so on. Near the end of the second volume of Maus , however, the author includes a drawing that appears to the viewer as a very life-like photograph of Vladek, recovered from his years as an inmate and clothed in a replica of the prisoner’s...

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