Maus Chapter 3: Most Important Panel

As I reas the third chapter of Maus, I came across a panel that completely redefined the entire comic for me. It is the second panel in page 64. In it, Vladek describes how he had to convince a Polish train man to hide him inside the train so he could make it back to Sosnowiec and see his family again; he emphasized that he could not let the Pole know he was Jewish. In this particular case, it is not necessarily the textual content of the panel but rather the image depicted: in it, Vladek is depicted to be wearing a pig mask as he talks to the Pole trainman (poles are depicted as pigs), and through their mutual dislike of Germans, the Pole helps Vladek and sneaks him into the train. The significance of this is that in this graphic novel, the animal forms of the various nationalities are just a metaphor, and nothing else relating to the comic’s reality. If the different nationalities where actually differentiated by animal race in the novel’s reality, the Pole would have easily found out Vladek was a Jew.

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