Maus Questions and Answers
by Art Spiegelman

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What are the themes of Maus? How can they be discussed with examples from the text?

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Noelle Thompson eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Because you did not indicate the specific Maus I or Maus II, I assume you mean The Complete Maus which compiles both books in one. (If you wanted to be specific to the first or second part, feel free to repost your question.) In short, the main theme of Maus is the Holocaust: the difficulties during, the post traumatic stress afterward, and the father/son relationship as a result.

The difficulties during the actual Holocaust are portrayed in a very different way here in comic book form. Poland is occupied by Germany, of course. However, instead of the “human” Nazis roaming around, the German military is portrayed through prowling cats. The Jewish people, of course, are mice trying to avoid their certain death. The Spiegelman mice are put into one of the Jewish ghettos and then sent directly to Auschwitz (at the end of Maus I). Why were they sent to the worst death camp of the Holocaust? Fellow countrymen at the border betrayed them when the Spiegelmans tried to flee to Hungary in 1944. As...

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