Art Spiegelman’s Maus is a famous, Pulitzer Prize winning tale about the journey of a Jewish Holocaust survivor. Despite the amount of similar storylines, Spiegelman’s creativity with the normal elements of comics has won him high praise. This analysis will focus on Spiegelman’s unique twist on icons, layouts, diegesis, abstraction, and encapsulation as displayed by Maus. Icons are pictures that are used to embody a person, place, thing, or idea. McCloud hammers this concept home by drawing random things, such as a cow (McCloud, pg. 26), but reminds the reader that it is technically not a real cow. It is just an image.
In Maus, Spiegelman’s characters are icons; he utilizes everyday, commonplace animals to represent the humans in
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This enlargement is to draw the attention of the reader, just as the mice did to the crowds of Jews who walked by. Overall, Spiegelman’s creative layouts add another dynamic to the story, which encompasses the reader into the story. Encapsulation is the selection of images that compose the narration. McCloud shows the encapsulations by utilizing three different panel counts, which all tell the same story. Despite Maus’ plotline jumping from present day to the 1940s, the encapsulation is pretty tight from panel to panel, leaving the reader to use minimal closure in the gutter space. Spiegelman’s encapsulation is fluid throughout the novel, as attempts to only include the essential points to display the story smoothly. This is manifested by Art’s attempts to keep his father on track when he appears to be going off on a tangent (pg 44, middle right panel / pg. 82, top panel). Each of Spiegelman’s panels includes a specific moment of time that is vital to the story. This fluid transition from panel helps the reader stay focused and understand the story arc.
Diegesis can be thought of as the “world of the story”. There are two sub-categories of this “world”, the first being sensory diegetic images. These are depictions that occur in the real time and setting of the story. The second category is hermeneutic images; these are depictions that take place in the memories, emotions, and sensations. This category cannot be detected by the reader’s