Maus by Art Spiegelman

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It doesn't require a psychiatrist to identify in Maus I that Vladek possesses many of the qualities which could be typically used to portray a survivor. Most of which are qualities emblematic not necessarily only of a survivor of the holocaust but a survivor of any great life or death struggle. His words and actions toward Art and especially Mala tacitly reveal a man still deeply impacted by tragic experiences decades later. Through his life story we are able to ascribe Vladek's various tendencies indirectly to his sufferings and survival instinct which he attained during the holocaust. With integrity he carries on with the rest of his life even with the heavy burden of his experiences in Poland and the suicide of his wife. This burden which has made him cognizant of a human experience incomprehensible to others also has left him with certain ineffaceable characteristics abrasive in appearance to the untrained eye. However, it is this unwavering buoyancy that allows him to speak with such candidness with Art about these issues. His relationship with Mala appears to be one set starkly against the background of who appears to be his true love, Anja. Not only does he seem to draw some distinction between the two in the context of money but he also keeps more pictures of Anja on his desk than his current wife and seemingly idealizes his relationship with her in comparison to his marriage to Mala (Spiegelman, 104). Somewhat peculiar because Mala went through the camps as well, he does not seem able to communicate well with her at all, possibly somewhat because his memory of Anja draws a wedge between the two of them. This is evidenced by his admittance to Vladek that he questions why he ever remarried to begin with (127). Perhaps since he went through the most harrowing experiences with Anja and with her experienced the greatest personal losses both of loved ones and property, he is more attuned to considering her to be his true partner. In contrast, he...
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