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Maus Essay

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In the books Maus I and Maus II by Art Spiegelman, the father and son relationship with the two main characters is an interesting adventure. The father, Vladek, is a survivor of a tragic 19th century event, the Holocaust. The holocaust has a negative effect on the way Vladek carries himself. Vladeks son, Artie, is getting told the story of the holocaust from a survivors point of view, Vladek is a survivor. Artie is writing a graphic book on the horrific story his father is proposing. Throughout the story, father and son have many disagreements, and certainly an entertaining love and hate relationship. One prime way the holocaust affected Vladek is the lack of trust he has with people. When Artie was a child, he was having problems with some kids at school, whom he referred to as his “friends”. Vladek assured him, “friends? Your friends? If you lock them together in a room for a week, then you will see what it is, friends!” (Spiegelman, 6). Artie must have had a rough time growing up with Vladek because his lack of trust, and also his compulsiveness of neatness or organization. Vladek constantly needs to keep all of his tasks in extremely precise order. Sometimes his compulsiveness provoke arguments and disagreements. Besides Vladeks thrive for organization, Artie and Vladek disagree on many events, often causing irritable situations. Vladek still treats Artie as if he is a child. He tries to influence the way he dresses by throwing out his coat, and giving him one that he prefers to wear. Vladek says to Artie, "such an old shabby coat. It's a shame my son would wear such a coat!" (Spiegleman). Another way he treats Artie as a child is how Vladek tries to convince Artie and his wife, Francoise, to live with him. This causes many arguments between Vladek and Artie. Another disagreement Artie has with his father is that Artie knows Vladek has money, but he is extremely picky on what he spends his money in. Vladek destroyed his relationship with his wife, Mala, over money because he wouldn't ever want to cough up money for her personal needs. The money issue resulted from the event of the holocaust. He tries to save his money to be prepared for anything, he is just plain resourceful. This was always how he was after the holocaust, even when Artie was a child. Artie says "Well, he hasn't changed... Whenever I needed school supplies are new clothes mom would have to plead and argue for weeks before he's cough up any dough.. I used to think the war made him that way" (Spiegleman 130). How amazing it is for Vladek to have survived the holocaust there were some negative affects on Vladeks ways of living. The holocaust also affected how he treated his son. For the abundant number of disagreements throughout the book, in the end, they are still father and son. Even though Vladek often irritates Artie, they still love each other. Artie learns to appreciate his father.

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