Before I read Maus, my assumptions, like most here, were way off. Reading Maus, I was surprised at the depth and sincerity of the book.
But to be totally honest, I was actually a little afraid to read it.
I have always been fascinated by the stories of the Second World War, but have tended to shy away from anything Holocaust related. I knew that what had happened in the camps was horrifying and not something any human being should be forced to even think about. I can’t watch anything on T.V. that talks about the Holocaust, simply because it’s a horror story that breaks my heart and I, like everyone else I’m sure, wish it hadn’t happened.
But still it did.
Maus is a beautifully portrayed story of a survivor. I think we can all appreciate that word, “Survivor”. It tells us that this person, whatever they went through, walked through Hell and came out on top. At least, that’s what the word “Survivor” means to me.
In Maus, I think it fits perfectly with the character Vladek. He walked through Hell and, in the end, could stand ontop. His character progress, from quiet warrior husband, to rude and obnoxious old man just tells me more about how terrible a thing it was he went through. He went through something no human being should have to endure. His character as an old man, seems to be the polar opposite of when he was a young man and to me, it seems like a natural progression. As you get older, it seems you tend to stop caring what everyone else thinks. And you get grumpier.
If I was Vladek, I would have stopped caring about what people thought long before I was an old lady.
Vladek walked through a nightmare, survived, then walked through another nightmare (his wifes death), was completely broken in spirit… But survived. He chose to still move forward, which is the true mark of a survivor.
Vladek knew his story, he knew what he went through… He was a survivor. He didn’t have to prove anything to anyone.