MAUS Chapters 2-3

Please take the quiz below before Thursday morning:



Respond to/discuss the two following questions in the comments section below for your weekly participation grade:


  1. Using what you already know about the Holocaust, why do you think the author chose to portray the Jews as mice and the Nazis as cats?
  2. The novel often jumps between present-day Artie and his elderly father Vladek and the story of Vladek’s past. Look back at the frames of present-day Vladek (use info from this chapter and previous ones.) What are some of the characteristics of present-day Vladek?


For extra credit, visit the “Wellness” onglet on the blog for ways to manage stress during this difficult time. Wellness

Try the meditation exercise and comment on the post with your reaction/experience.

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17 thoughts on “MAUS Chapters 2-3

  1. 1. I think that the author made this because Jaws were like a ciblé for nazis like a mous with a cat. That the cat is mentaly obligated to kill them i think that s why he made this.

    • I like how Clément interpreted it. Cats are I guess the main predators of mice so using those two words were accurate.
      I also thought that the author chose these kinds of animals to represent these characters because it’s the simplest way to describe and depict the relationship the Jews and the Germans had between them. It helps for the good comprehension of the story . Since mice are known to be pests and insignificant animals that’s how many people back then saw Jews as. Since the Germans had more power thus why not pick the mice’s enemy, the cat. The Germans are characterized as cats, signifying the power and malevolence of the entire Holocaust experience. The cats don’t just kill the mice; they capture them, play with them, and then kill them.That’s what the nazis do.

  2. 2. Some of the caracteristiques are:
    -he s old like he must to do some sport for his heart.
    -he’s much often angry
    -he look s like nostalgic of before
    – he look like a sage

  3. 1. I think the author choose to represents Jews as mice and Nazis as cat because the nazis thought theywere superior to the Jews in the sence of nature. Which is represent by the fact that the cat is a natural predator to the mice.

  4. for me in the presents days he look tired of life. He don’t want to bother with his horrible story. He also have a permanent tatooof his number in the camps and he have to sport and take pills for his heart.

  5. Even though I was not able to download every pages due to WIFI problems, I was able to conclude that the chapters 2 and 3 were way darker and more into the truth than the first chapter.

  6. 1. I think Art Spiegelman presented the Jews as mice and the Nazis as cats because these animals are part of the same ecosystem (they interact with each other in their physical environment), yet, one is the predator and the other one is prey. This representation could suggest that Nazis thought that they were higher up in society than Jews, just as cats are higher up in the food chain than mice.
    It could also be because the Nazis saw the Jews as vermin. Mice can be vermin in a house if they chew at cables or make holes in the walls, and cats scare them away with their scent, or, if they get unlucky, the mice get caught and eaten whilst trying to escape. Jews were vermin for the Nazis as they were very good at economy and made more money than the average German person, but they were also believed to be dirtying the ‘pure’ German race (Aryens) by marrying with them and having children. Nazis are represented as cats because they are big and powerful and people (Germans) like them for chasing away the vermin (Jews).
    My last point is that cats play with mice once they catch them. They don’t kill them immediately, but let them go, to catch them again and again and again before finally sinking their teeth into them. This is what the Nazis did to the Jews in some sort of way. First, they put the Jews in the ghettos but told them it was just for a little while to give them hope. After this, the Nazis loaded them on to trains but told them they were going somewhere nice. They starved them during three days and once they arrived at the concentration camps, they gave the Jews a little hope, saying that they would just be working to help the German army when in fact they were headed towards the gas chambers. The Nazis used the same twisted psychology as cats to torture their prey (the Jews) by giving them hope and then destroying it shortly after.
    Overall, I believe the author presented the Jews as mice and the Nazis as cats as these two species are each others mortal enemies.

  7. 2. i. Vladek still has his heart condition from when he was younger (mentioned in page 46 when he has to drink a gallon of coffee a day) in the present day.
    ii. He has to take around 35 pills a day, 7 for his underlying health conditions and 25-30 vitamins to keep in good health.
    iii. Vladek has a glass eye because it had to be removed due to advanced glaucoma and bleeding. He also wears glasses.
    iv. His inmate number is still tattooed on his arm.
    v. He is quite a dominant character and gets his way around the house (not respecting Mala, throwing Arties’ coat away, etc…)
    vi. He seems elderly but is well-built and exercises to keep his heart strong.
    vii. He didn’t smoke when he was younger and still doesn’t.

    (that’s all i have for now)

  8. 1. I think it is because the Nazis are chasing the Jews just like cats chase mice.
    It’s also to show the superiority between the cat and the mouse. Mice hide from cats.
    2. Vladecm still needs his heart problems, he needs his pills (vitamins…) he has a glass eye and glasses, he has his permanent tattoo from the concentration camps he was in, he had to do sports because of his heart problem.

  9. 1) I think the mice are portrayed as the Jews because there was no possible way for them to fight back and little to knowledge of Jews trying to fight back against the Nazis, as mice they are portrayed like helpless animals being hunted and all they could do is run or hide which often did not work. The Nazis are portrayed as cats because they hunt the mice, the jews, and cats are predators, famously known for hunting mice, I think that this is a clever and interesting comparison.

    2) Present day Vladek wears glasses and appears more faible in character and physically, it is shown that Vladek uses an exercise bike which can be a sign of old age because it is more important when older to get exercise, it is also shown he tires quickly after using the exercise bike.

  10. In the book the Jews are illustrated as mice and Nazis as cats, it was the choice of the author’s to depict the jews and the nazis like that, as during the holocaust the Jews were chased by nazis, although not all cats are not chasing moice most of them do, so we can uphold the idea that the author has been inspired by this idea of cats chasing mouses.
    In the novel it is true about the fact that the story jumps often be withen the present-day and th past of Vladek. The present day Vladek has different characterstics set side by side to the Vladek from the past, such as the present Vladek has glasses comparitively to the Vladek from we can also learn from the story in chapter 3 that the current Vladek has a right eye made out of glass, compared to the Vladek from the past. At one part of the novel we scrutinize that Vladek is counting his pills and vitamines for his cardinal health conditions and to keep good health. At the beginning of the novel we can spot on the left arm of todays Vladek there is a number tatooed on his arm.

  11. I think the author chose to portray the Jews as mice and the Nazis as cats because animals are specifically chosen to symbolize human interactions, and thus illustrated with different groups of animals. Maus creates an allegory using animal imagery, in which different types of people are characterized with the traits of different animals. The fact that the Jewish people are portrayed as mice conveys a multitude of attitudes towards the Jewish people; traits such as small, loveable, harmless, but yet also, perilous, and ugly. The Germans are characterized as cats, signifying the power and malevolence of the entire Holocaust experience. The cats don’t just kill the mice; they capture them, play with them, and then kill them.

    As natural enemies, the cats and mice lack both reasoning skills and conscience. As a result, the Nazi cats have no problem in systematically killing off the Jewish mice. In real life, a mouse is prey for a cat, and as shown in the book, a Jew is prey for a Nazi.

  12. For me Vladek is tired and still traumatized by what happened to him. It is hard for him to share his story because he pretends that everything is fine but he is broken from the inside. He can never move on because he will always have the tattoo engraved in him, on his arm but also in his memories.
    He has to take around 35 pills a day, 7 pills for his underlying health conditions and 25-30 vitamins pills to keep in good health.

  13. 1- I think, in Maus the Jews are represented like mouses because the mouses is a little animal harmless who cannot defend himself against a cat a powerful animal who hunt and kill the mouses. So I think the autor want to show that the nazis had totally the power on the jews who cannot defend himself.

    2- Vladek have some physical scar, he have heart probems, he need to take pills and to do sport. He have his tatoo of prisoner on his arm forever. Vladek says he’s fine but I think he also have some psychological scar because he saw horrible think in the concentration camp during the war.

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