The Aftershocks of the Holocaust
Thesis: Vladek’s experience during the Holocaust shapes his personality and relationships with family and friends and also plays a key role in his relationship with others.
Body Paragraph # 1: Eat or Starve
On page 43 in Maus 1, Vladek makes sure Art eats all his food on his plate because he is averse to the idea of food wastage. This is due to his experience during the Holocaust where his existence depended on saving and hoarding even the smallest bit of food he could acquire. Vladek believes that by instilling in Art the importance and value of food, he will train him not to take the simple comforts of life for granted and be prepared for the worst situations that life may offer. This is another reason why the father-son relationship is so strained as Art feels guilty that he got lucky while his parents and his extended family all perished. In comparison, his mother is more lenient and complying to his wishes making them have a better rapport. The Holocaust was over, changing the lives of the survivors leaving them beaten both emotionally and physically casting its shadow on the survivors and their immediate families.
Body Paragraph # 2: The Favored Ghost Brother
On page 15 in Maus 2, Art speaks about his ghost brother Richieu, whose death looms over the lives of his parents and indirectly affects Vladeks’s relationship with his living son. Art believes that Richieu embodies everything that Art was not. Vladek’s relationship with Richieu was stronger as both suffered the atrocities of the Holocaust while Art did not. When an individual goes through suffering, they come out stronger. In this case Richieu was dead but yet the connection between the Vladek and Richieu was deep as they shared firsthand the experience of the Holocaust. Constantly both Anja and Vladek were wishing they would find him alive, in spite of the fact that they knew he was dead. They were unable to move on and and now focus and start...
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