The Theme Of Guilt In Maus By Art Spiegelman

1180 Words 5 Pages
Maus is a two volume graphic novel written by Art Spiegelman. This intriguing work, which is the winner of the 1992 Pulitzer Prize, take us through the story of Art interviewing his father, Vladek, of his experiences from the Holocaust. Throughout the first volume, we can get an idea that for some unknown reason, Art has a feeling of guilt over him. As the book goes on, we can see that even though Art was not involved with the Holocaust in any way, the whole ordeal seems to have an affect on his life. What kind of guilt is lingering over Art Spiegelman? As readers of Maus, it’s clear that there are at least three speculations for Art’s guilty conscience. We can see this thorough out the story with the though-provoking material provided to us …show more content…
In volume one of Maus, there is a lot of conversation about Anja, Vladek’s first wife and Art’s mother. During Vladek’s interview, we can see how in love he is with Anja. Anja comes from a well off family who helps Vladek start his own business, which is later taken from him. In the story, Anja and Vladek stay together for the majority of their time during the war; the running, hiding, even the illegal trading of goods wouldn’t keep them apart. Eventually they are separated when they arrive to the concentration camps but are fortunately reunited later. Things take a drastic turn after the war is over; Approximately half way through the book, we are faced with one of Art’s comic creations. To his father’s dismay, Art draws up the story of his mother’s unexpected suicide and titles the work “Prisoner on the Hell Planet”. An important piece of finding the guilt felt by Art is towards the end of the comic where he talks about the last time he saw his mother alive. “Artie…you still love me…don’t you?” This can be interpreted as a fact that Anja was already feeling dismal for some reason. “I turned away, resentful of the way she tightened the umbilical cord. Sure, ma!” After we see that Art is cold and dismissive to his mother, we can clearly pin-point a source of guilt. When the suicide happens, Art is automatically feeling like his mother’s death was his fault. His own negligence was responsible for the fate of Anja. “Prisoner …show more content…
Right from the beginning of the first volume, we can see that the two might not have the greatest father-son relationship. Although the two of them live pretty close to one-another, they hardly ever see each other. Vladek seems like he has a temper, but he likes things in order. Since the smallest thing can be a trigger, Art tries to walk on egg shells around his father. In the course of the story, little fights between Art and Vladek breakout every now and again; Art accidentally drops cigarette ashes on the floor and Vladek burns Anja’s journals that were meant for Art, which really sets him off. A great example of Art’s growing guilt is at the start of Chapter Five when Vladek calls Art while he’s sleeping and ask for his help fixing the drain pipe. Sleepy, Art refuses and begins speaking to his wife. She asks “So, are you going to Queens?’ Art replies “No way- I’d rather feel guilty!” Later on, Art’s guilt from this event is later obvious as he goes to visit his father and ask him if he needs any help with household chores. Without a doubt, the event from Vladek’s life had put a strain on not only his life, but his family’s life as well. The rocky relationship with his son was a vigorous one. In volume two of Maus, Art begins speaking to his wife about his father. “I mean; I can’t even make any sense out of my relationship with my father. How am I supposed to make any

Related Documents