Theme Of Guilt In Maus

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Maus is the story of Vladek Spiegelman. While on its Exterior it is about Vladek Spiegelman’s experiences in the holocaust, there is also much more. In multiple ways, the relationship between Art Spiegelman and his father Vladek Spiegelman is the main story in the book, and this story experiences many feelings of guilt. Most of that guilt is linked with members of the family. The narrative consists of three main forms of guilt, Art’s emotional state of guilt on not being a good son to his parents, his feelings of guilt over his mother’s suicide, and his feelings of guilt in the publication of his books. All these feelings build into the theme of survivor’s guilt. In Maus one of the most basic forms of guilt is Art feeling that he has …show more content…
As voiced in the short intermission of one of his old comic books in Chapter 5, he feels deeply accountable for his mother’s suicide. He believes it was a result of his own neglect in her time of need. Art’s last memory of his mother is when she came into his room late at night and asked him if he still loved her, he responded with an unemotional and unconcerned “sure”. His last memory of her is a painful reminder of his cold disregard. Still this specific form of guilt isn’t of major importance in the story, but, it is notable in that Art has similar feelings of guilt towards his father, who is still alive. Vladek has many odd personality traits and most can be connected to his experience in the holocaust. In the 70s, Vladek is hard headed, short tempered, and is a stingy and cheap with his money. Vladek’s relationship with mala is suffering and barren. Prior to the holocaust he shows none of these traits. He was caring, rich, and very resourceful, and his relationship with Anja was full of love and closeness. His traumatic experiences in the holocaust definitely played a large role in his drastic personality …show more content…
To start with, he feels almost completely consumed by the terrible shadow of the past. In multiple ways, he feels guilty that his mother and father were forced to live through Auschwitz, but he was born after it was all over, into a far more padded, safe and easy life. Although Art was born after the war and didn’t go through the holocaust himself, he has also been seriously affected by these appalling events. Art was affected by the aftereffects of the holocaust, in that his father’s personality and parenting skills were clearly affected by those events, and Art’s personality and life decisions were in turn clearly affected by his father’s character and the way he raised him. Art mentions a specific example of this to his wife. That his father would always prove everything Art did was all wrong, and that one of the reasons he became an artist was because that was one area that his father could not compete with him

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