Sunday, October 11, 2009

analytical questions about Maus

I'm really glad that we got to read "Maus" in this class because I read the first installment in sophomore year and I always wondered what happened to Vladek but I never got the chance to read the second installment. After reading the second installment, I've satisfied my curiosity and I really enjoyed reading the series.
With that said, I felt like there were gaps in the story and I didn't completely understand the relationship between the Artie and Vladek. I understand that Artie dislikes his father because his father is too thrifty and cheap. However, he seems too easily annoyed by his father. I don't necessarily think it's a bad thing to be thrifty at times and I can't understand why Artie is not slightly more understanding towards his father. His attitude towards his wife Francoise seems much more gentle. After almost every conversation with his father, Artie complains about how he cannot tolerate the man. Most times, I feel that even Francoise is more understanding towards Vladek than Artie. However, it seemed like Vladek genuinely cared for Artie and in Maus 2, Vladek told Francoise and Artie that they could all go to the grocery store and Artie and Francoise can pick out anything they want to eat. From that statement, I can tell that Vladek loves his son very much because he's always very thrifty, yet he's willing to let Artie buy anything he wants to eat. Although Vladek is annoy sometimes, he's still Artie's father and although he's thrifty, I wouldn't necessary say that he treats Artie badly yet Artie is angry with him all the time and treats him very badly. In order to understand the reason behind Artie's treatment of his father, I think the author needs to reveal more about Artie's past and his childhood.
Another part of the book that striked me as very interesting is the author's portrayal of Artie as a child during his sessions with the psychiatrist and his interviews in the media. For example, during the part of the book where the Artie faces many reporters and people who want to capitalize upon the success of his book, the author draws Artie shrinking from frame to frame until he's a small child crying "Wahhh!" Furthermore during his sessions with the psychiatrist, once again he portrays himself as a small child. I think the author was trying to reveal the psyche of Artie and his emotional state in regards to issues such as his father and the Holocaust. In a lot of ways, I think maybe Artie always saw himself as a child in front of his father. His father seemed to be constantly chiding and treating him as if he was a small child. Furthermore, Artie always expressed confusion regarding his emotions about the Holocaust. Maybe Artie felt like a child who couldn't really comprehend the depth and breadth of the terror of the Holocuast. After all, it probably was difficult for Artie to imagine what the Holocaust was like when he didn't actually go through the Holocaust.
In the last part of the book, I found it interesting and sad that Vladek called Artie "Richieu." It really showed the depth of the impact of the Holocaust on Vladek's life and his inability to forget his first son. At the same time, it might have been hard for Artie to hear his father call himself Richieu. After all, Artie had mentioned that his parents seemed to always like Richieu better and I don't think that's necessarily true. I think it's because Vladek and Anja always felt guilty about the death of their first son and they felt guilty for not being able to care for their son and give him the love that he deserved.

1 comment:

Michael Hancock said...

This reflection is rich, detailed, and insightful. How might you phrase your thoughts in the form of questions?