Monday, October 12, 2009

Maus II Interpretive Questions

As Dr. Hancock said in class, one of the reasons Art wrote this comic book, was to rebuild his relationship with his father. Throughout the graphic novel, there are many occurrences that portray the tensions between their father and son relationship. For example on page 78, Art and Vladek argue about whether Art should take home Vladek’s leftovers. When Art tells his father to just throw them away, Vladek responds with saying how after the Holocaust, he can’t throw out food. Art then responds with an very rude, and unthoughtful comment, “Then just save the damn Special K in case Hitler ever comes back.” (III, 78) So my question is why does Art treat his father like that even after knowing the horror he had gone through during the Holocaust? Why isn't he more considerate of his father's psychological well being?

Another scenario that struck me was towards the end of Chapter Three, when Art, Vladek, and Francoise are returning from the Catskills. Francoise is driving and along the way, she picks up an African American hitchhiker. Afterwards, Vladek remarks with racist comments “I had the whole time to watch that this shavartser doesn’t steal us the groceries from the back seat!” (III, 93). Art counteracts with anger, asking him why he would be so racist, when he had been the victims of the German’s racism. Thus my second question is why does Vladek react this way? And how does this incident illustrate the different meaning the Holocaust holds for Art and for his father?

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