Vladek In Maus

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Maus, a graphic novel by cartoonist Art Spiegelman, is not just another Holocaust story, but a work of art that delves into the physical, emotional, and psychological strains suffered by many of the survivors. The story is told through an ongoing conversation between Art and his father Vladek. Although the novel focuses on Vladek’s story, it also portrays how the Holocaust’s effects stretched across multiple generations. Spiegelman explores the psychological state of some more than others. Throughout his graphic novel, Maus, Art Spiegelman thematically and stylistically portrays the character Anja as emotionally unstable through her periodic outbursts and her relationship with Vladek, implying that suicide was an inevitable outcome for her.…show more content…
Anja explicitly expresses her fear for the first time when Vladek gets drafted into the war. From that point on, Anja constantly announces her fear in some version of “Vladek, I’m afraid.” Once her parents are taken away, Anja begins to completely rely on Vladek for support emotionally. She resorts to burying her face in Vladek’s clothes as if she no longer wants to face whatever comes next (146 and 149). Of course, since Vladek is telling the story, it is plausible that he might have exaggerated the fear that Anja had in order to make himself appear as a necessity to her. However, based on Vladek’s account, it appears as if Anja depended on him for everything. He is the only person she has left in the world; therefore, if something happened to Vladek, it would not be long before Anja took her own life. Through this relationship, Spiegelman illuminates how Vladek is the only person tethering Anja to…show more content…
Throughout the novel, Anja experiences extreme breakdowns which reveal how fragile she is emotionally. She continues on a downward spiral as she loses her family members one by one. The amount of loss she suffers leads her to become reliant on Vladek to tether her to this world. One can gather that the idea of suicide has been hanging over Anja for a great deal of time. Art and Vladek both blame themselves for her death; however, one can speculate that the thing that ultimately led her to act was survivor’s guilt. Anja feels responsible for the death of little Richieu(pg.83). For that reason, she believes she needs to do more for Art—She needs to be loved by him in order to make up for her mistake with Richieu. When she asks Art if he loves her, the response she gets isn’t enough to assure her that she is doing the right thing as a mother. Once that bond is broken, even Vladek cannot overcome her desire to no longer live. It was never a question of will Anja carry out the act but of when she would do it. The tipping point just happened to be Art’s lack of
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