The Perception of Self in The Last of the Just and Maus I and Maus II

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The Shoah altered and blurred the definition of who were considered people. Andre Schwarz-Bart’s The Last of the Just, and Art Spiegelman’s Maus I: My Father Bleeds History and Maus II: And Here My Troubles Began, focuses on the different types of degrading animal and insect images of the Jews during the Shoah. By drawing upon both Edmund Russell’s article and Howard Stein’s article, one can come to understand the consequences that arise from the portrayal of the Jews as either animals or insects within the two novels. Thus, when an individual ceases to identify himself or herself as an animal or an insect, that individual is able to find the strength to cope, and survive such calamities.
It is important to understand how animal and
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The novel demonstrates that children of the Holocaust were aware of what was going on before their parents could fully comprehend the enormity of the situation. Non-Jewish Children were cruel to the Jewish children and to those who helped the young Jewish children. SS Youth members, or Pimpf boys, with their childish handwriting, scribbled “out with the Jew-lover!” onto the blackboard for those characters, like Herr Kremer, who choose to help the Jewish children (Schwarz-Bart 209). Although many adults were fully unaware of the racism that was occurring during playtime, the fact was that Jewish children, like Ernie Levy, are found with “arms lay[ing] limply on the ground,” and his palms full of blood, which was a normal occurrence when non-Jewish children play together with the Jewish children (Schwarz-Bart 208). This clearly indicates that Ernie’s classmates see Ernie and his friends only as insects.
Likewise, in Art Spiegelman’s graphic novels, Maus I and Maus II, the motif of the insect and degraded animal imagery is clearly visible from the beginning of each volume. Similar to Ernie in The Last of the Just, Art Spiegelman demonstrates that “the mothers always told so,” and “they taught to their children” about the dangers of playing or associating with the Jews (Spiegelman, Maus I: My Father Bleeds History 149). From an early age, the non-Jewish parents would

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