literary devices/animal allegory/ symbolism
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Certainly there is the animal allegory of the mice. Hitler considered Jews vermin so the irony is quite telling. Depicting the Jewish people as mice conveys an assortment of different attitudes towards the Jewish people such that they are small, loveable, harmless, and yet perilous, repellent, and ugly. Portraying the Germans as cats brings out the power and malevolence of the entire Holocaust experience, in which cats do not just kill mice, they capture them, play with them, and then kill them. Natural sworn enemies, both cat and mice lack reason and conscience. The most significant symbol within the novel is the stationary bike. Vladek tries to pedal faster and faster in order to escape his memories, his recollections, and the effects of the Holocaust, but his efforts do not allow him to go anywhere; he is unable to escape his past. Vladek paddles harder showing the building up of strong emotion and hatred, symbolizing his subconscious want to get off the bike, but is still unable to relieve himself of the tension of the Holocaust. The bike is also a motif in the story as it seen through out the novel to tie different parts of the story together. Through the repetitive use of the bike, Spiegelman is able to bring the story in a full circle.