Competition in Maus
The book Maus addresses the issue of the Holocaust and tells the story of Vladek in detail, a man who survived Auschwitz. However, one of the most striking things about the story is not the surviving issue, but how it reveals the relationship between Vladek and his son. Competition is everywhere in the story. In the first book Vladek had a competitive relationship with his son Artie, but throughout the story the competition falls into the hands of Artie and Richieu, the dead brother. Artie is constantly struggling with the broken relationship he has with his father. When talking to Pavel, Artie says: “No matter what I have accomplished, it doesn’t seem like much compared to surviving Aushwitz” (II, 45). Artie’s life experiences and those of his father are completely different and this difference seems to increase the distance between them. People have different stories and backgrounds, but their skills and greatness can’t be measured by one individual event, such as the Holocaust. Due to this eternal competition imposed by his father, Artie's purpose for writing the book may have started in order to record family history, but this was a superficial cover attempting to overcome his deeper feelings of inferiority he felt while around his father. “He loved showing off how handy he was… and proving that anything I did was all wrong. He made me completely neurotic about fixing stuff… One reason I became an artist was that he thought it was impractical-just a waste of time… It was an area where I wouldn’t have to compete with him” (I, 97). In fact, Artie did show his competence through writing the book and being able to portrait his dad’s story so well. A passage that demonstrates how Vladek always seems to be making Artie feel incompetent is when Vladek knocks over a his bottle of pills and blames it on Artie. “Look now what you made me do!” (I, 30). Even though Vladek knows it was his own fault, he doesn’t want to admit it. Then Artie tells...
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