Father and Son Relationship In Maus (Maus by Art Speigelman Book Review)
The graphic novel Maus, by Art Speigelman, portrays an advising tense, and strained relationship between Artie and his father Valdek, shown in themes of time and guilt. The author lays out the image of Valdek as a hard-headed man, self-pitying man. Throughout the story, the reader can observe the hell-ish horrors Valdek has lived through that has shaped him this way, and how his historical trauma paves the way for generational trauma in terms of Vladek and Art, and how Valdek’s trauma negatively affects their relationship even more.
Throughout the whole of the book, on many accounts, Valdek can be seen diminishing his relationship with his son Artie by belittling him for petty reasons. When Artie messes with cigarette ash, Valdek can be seen reprimanding Artie for his small mistake, while Valdek recounts one of the hundreds of belittling experiences while being in the hands of the S.S. Valdek says, “ LOOK WHAT YOU DO, ARTIE… You’re dropping cigarette ashes…Clean it, yes?” (54). The contrast between past and present pushes a feeling of guilt on Artie for the face-to-face way he has been treating his father’s trauma, which instills a deep sense within Artie’s heart. Constantly, Valdek and Artie do things that resent each other like throwing Artie’s coat out, and visa versa. Perhaps, these micro transgressions between them are caused by miscommunication. Artie strives for a father figure, he is blinded by Valdek’s anger. However, Valdek is upset between the distance from him and Artie, paired with the gruesome thoughts of the Holocaust and the depressing suicide of Valdek’s first wife; this life path leads to Valdek not being able to act as a proper father figure to Artie.