Literary Criticism Of The Work Mous

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Literary criticism of the work Mous


Art Spiegelman is Vlack. Throughout history we see how they constantly collide and always end up discussing. At the beginning of the story it is shown with little kindness due to the difficulties and claims that Vladek shows.

 But as the story progresses we see a somewhat more involved Art in the affairs and attention of his father. Art, in addition to a character is a narrator, is also a historian, since he is narrating a historical event, which is in his own life experience.  Vladek: He is the father of Art, Polish Jewish Jewish survivor of the Holocaust. The attitude of this throughout history is that of a tacaño, dependent, complaint and stubborn man. Entrusted in the life of his son and his partner, to the point of sometimes harming the private life of both. Of unbearable coexistence for their hobbies, attention and aid that constantly claims. 

Interestingly, at a certain moment in history, he is racist with an African -American car for fear of stealing him. Like Art, Vlack also has two roles, on the one hand the main character, and on the other hand the narrator. We can clearly observe the change of role through the image, both in Art and in Vladek. For example, different ways of dressing in Vlack, absence of vignettes etc.

Richieu: is Art Spiegelman’s brother. He died before Art was born. Her aunt decided to poison her children with her together with Richieu, as the raids increased and sent more Jews to the extermination fields. It is a character we know through a photograph, which alters Art’s well -being on occasion in history. Richieu is also considered a silent character, since he is only known through a photograph. But he is a key character in the work, since he is a frequent character in the story.

Anja: She is Vladek’s wife, art of Art, a Polish Jewish survivor to the holocaust. He was an intelligent person, dominated three languages, Polish, English and German. Is shown as a submissive and nervous person. After giving birth to his first child he had a depressive crisis. At the end of the war, after a while, he took his life without leaving any note. Anja is a silent character, which we know and we can form the story of his life through the voices of Art and Vladek, both in the role of characters and in the role of narrators.

Secondary characters

Mala: is Vlack’s second wife. Between Vladek and she have many problems, since he believes that she is with him for money and makes her constantly inferior to Anja. Bad arises a lot with him due to his special hobbies and also his stingy. In the end the relationship reaches such an extent that he abandons him. Bad is considered a secondary character but of great interest. Since through his words we know the greedy facet of Vladek.

Françoise Mouly: She is the woman of Art, of French origin. Which in history we always see accompanying Art and helping him to maintain the relationship with his father as well as possible. Françoise is also considered a secondary character, as well as bad, through his words we know another facet of Vladek, the racist.

Maus tells us the story of Art’s father, a Jew who survives the Auschwitz extermination camp. It consists of two primary narratives, and two less important stories within history. Thus forming a comic that manifests the genre of the memory of the Holocaust, to connect autobiography, complaint and historical memory in an extraordinary way.

The work shows a thunderous testimony about Nazism, which is expressed through the search for the appropriate graphic tone. It deals with different historical events that happened during the Nazi domain of Germany. Plasma issues and characteristics such as disenchantment and apathy, characterized by individuality and lack of common well -being. Disappointment and frustration by the society in which one lives, which encourages social relations with apathetic behaviors.

The novel has as its central narrative axis the historical allusion of Art’s life and how this is told to his son during a series of visits between 1978 and 1979. The second narrative axis of the comic would be the difficult current relationship between father and son. This relationship is presented as tense from the beginning and throughout history it develops.

There is another narrative axis that is not a specific story. It is a metadiscourse that underlies the discourse that it draws, a personal and self-reflection history, where Art reveals his conflicting emotions about his work. And finally, there is a brief comic that tells the suicide story of his mother Anja. The story is characterized by being made with many details. It takes place in two different times, the past and the present, which correspond to the aforementioned narratives. The past, with the previous years and during World War II, and the present with the interviews of Art to his father.

Spiegelman not only worried about collecting and joining each other, but of contextualizing it in the present with the help of flashbacks. These become very important in the work, since it is the way it has to divide and fragment the events. Where the characters of Vladek, Art, Mala and Françoise interact with each other, carrying parallel actions to those of the past, to tell Vladek’s story. In the novel we see represented the condition of his father Vladek as an emigrant, this reflected it in the speech of this. Vladek had as a mother tongue yidis, although he defended himself in German, Swedish and Polish.


Maus deals with different themes, mainly love, where we see the relationship that Vladek and Anja maintain that fight during the holocaust for being together and maintaining contact through messages, despite the risk that that entailed. At the end of the war, the love feels one for the other makes them again meet. Death is another of the issues we see from the beginning of the novel to the end, from Anja’s suicide, going through Jewish extermination throughout history.

We see the despair suffered by people who did not want to go to the extermination fields and fight to hide from the Nazis in bunkers or any other hiding place. Some came to take their lives before they caught them and transfer them to Auschwitz. The injustice of everything that was happening, the fact that the Germans had power over others to catch them, scare, torture them, kill them and chase every Jewish by orders by orders. And above all and more important freedom, the one that everyone craves and has taken them out because the Aria race was superior to them and for this reason they absolutely blamed everything without even deserving. 

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