In Animals in Literature, Ancient and Modern, we will explore the roles that animals and animal symbolism play in literature across time and across culture, reaching back into classic folk traditions and extending into the modern literary imagination.* You will read and respond to a range of enduring literary texts from a range of literary genres, such as fables, fairy tales, poetry, fiction, and graphic novels. Through the process of exploring the place of animals in literature, you will also explore and present your own unique ideas and creativity through written expressions, interpretive performances, and formal presentations. For the major written assignments, we will follow the steps of the writing process—prewriting, drafting, revision, and editing. Throughout the semester, we will also sharpen your command of grammar, usage, and mechanics and expand your literary and everyday vocabulary.

* To establish some continuity between the work you did last semester and what we have planned for this semester, I will look for ways, as often as possible, to foster connections to the readings, themes, and concepts you have already studied. Please do not hesitate to call attention to any connections yourselves during our classes or in your work for this semester.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Today's Discussion

I meant to tell everyone that you guys did a fantastic job today. I was totally impressed with the display of intelligence and courtesy as you wrangled with such a key question for understanding and enjoying Maus.

Here's my belated contribution to the discussion...the quotes at the beginning of Maus I and Maus II. What do they suggest as to why Spiegelman chose to represent the different groups of people as animals?

Maus I:
"The Jews are undoubtedly a race, but they are not human"
Adolf Hitler

Maus II:

"Mickey Mouse is the most miserable ideal ever revealed... Healthy emotions tell every independent young man and every honorable youth that the dirty and filth-covered vermin, the greatest bacteria carrier in the animal kingdom, cannot be the ideal type of animal... Away with the Jewish brutalization of the people! Down with Mickey Mouse! Wear the Swastika cross!"

- German newspaper article, mid-1930's


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