The Maus graphic books are award-winning comics written by Art Spiegelman. They are non-fictional stories of Art and his father, Vladek. Spiegelman demonstrates that all suffering does is cause pain, it does not create noble people. Spiegelman exemplifies this through his characters, for example, Anja committed suicide after suffering for the duration of the holocaust. Anja’s death along with the holocaust also made a huge impact on Vladek’s life.After all of Vladek’s traumatic experiences he takes it out on Mala and this shows shows the reader that Mala herself goes through a lot of pain.
The suffering they went through proves that only only pain was caused and their lives were only more difficult. Anja commited suicide after the suffering through the holocuast and this demonstrates that suffering does not create better people, instead, only pain is implanted. From the period of the holocaust, anja’s mental state was not positive. She declares “but i don’t care, i just don’t want to live”.
Anja shows signs of depression. She had depression and anxiety before the war, which left her more vulnerable to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which impaired her ability to live a normal life. Spiegelman also show that suvivors, like anja, feel like they did not do all they could have to help their family and feel guilty for moving on with their life. Vladek described her before they were married as always being “anxious”. Anja was unable to cope with the loss of her son and almost the entire family.
Years afterwards she commited suicide.Therefore, this proves the point that suffering does not make her noble but traumatised and this disturbed Vladek enormously because without Anja, the love of his life, Vladek was at a loss. The death of Anja along with the experiences Vladek gained from the holocaust put a lot of weight onto his life and has greatly affected his way of thinking. It is definate that vladek portray signs of miserliness and he also states that “from my good eye, from my glass eye, if they’re open or they’re closed, always i’m thinking of anja”.This suggests that he can’t let go of his past and becomes rather apprensive and paranoid like many other victims. On account of the war, he was transformed from a successfull, happily married father to a lonely man without a purpose or joy. With the loss of all he loved he becomes somewhat “more attached to things than to people,” it was as if he had lost faith in people. Vladek’s anxiety can also be shown through his dreams. Vladek has had nightmares ever since he had been in the concentration camps which is another common symptom of survivors.One night Art and his wife Francois hear Valdek moaning in his sleep. When Francois asks what the noise is, he explains, “he’s moaning in his sleep again. when i was a kid i thought that was the noise all grown-ups made while they slept”. Consequently, suffering only causes pain and because of what Vladek has experienced, it is clear that he only lives with sadness and does not become noble. From Vladek’s pain, he constantly takes it out on his second wife, mala, and on his son Artie. With Mala, Vladek is really critical towards her and he comments on the smallest things.He is critical of everything mala does, “the chicken i thought, was too dry”. He expresses his fustration at the situation saying “i tell you, with mala i dont know what to do”. He puts her in a difficult position and as seen in the book many times, she had been upset about Vladek’s behaviours almost constanly. It is clear that this character undergoes some kind of difficulty and does not become a better person as she chose to leave Vladek in the end along with all of his money. It is also obvious that artie himself suffers from depression.He has been in a mental institution and sees a psychiatrist to help him deal with his issues. he confesses to his psychiatrist that all he remebers about his father is arguing with him and never feeling good enough. The psychiatrist explains to him that Vladek probably inflicted these feelings on him, out of his own need to feel like he survived because he was better, to ease his guilt. On the other hand, Art also feels guilty for surviving. Vladek makes him feel as though he will never live up to the memory of his brother, Richieu, who died in the war, and guilty for not having been through what they did.However, for Artie to have lived in the shadows of the holocaust for his whole life, to often see the long lasting effects it has had on his father. it is natural for him to feel “some kind of guilt about having had an easier life than they did”. Art was also greatly affected by the suicide of anja and this was shown in a very emotional comic Art wrote soon after his mother’s death. Furthermore, it is undeniable that suffering does not create noble people and it only causes pain and sorrow.This text teaches us that all suffering does is cause pain and does not create better people. Anja’s departure after the holocaust proves that suffering does not make better people, it only causes pain. Anja’s death along with the holocaust made a huge impact on vladek’s life and it is clear that he struggles to become noble and this character only portrays pain and mental suffering. Deriving out of vladeks pain, he takes out his own miserliness on both art and mala making them suffer and proves that suffering does not make them better people Fiona