A Survivor Feeling Guilty of His Survival Essay

1608 Words Oct 10th, 2011 7 Pages
In the aftermath of a horrific experience, it is not uncommon for a survivor to feel guilty about their survival. The most difficult thing for survivors can be finding the ability to move beyond what has happened and look toward the future. An individual is often shaped by their past experiences. If ensuing guilt is not dealt with, however, the past can hinder the ability to achieve in the present. In Art Spielgelman’s MAUS II, Vladek and Art struggle to live in the present and are laden with guilt from their pasts. When not properly dealt with, guilt can become an overpowering emotion, governing decisions and depleting self motivation. To move successfully past debilitating guilt one often must learn to be accepting of the past and …show more content…
Although Art can’t feel exactly the same guilt his father felt, Art still feels guilt for not having suffered as his parents did. Art never had to live through what his parents did; therefore he does not know what the Holocuast was like. Sitting at his desk, Art proclaims “At least fifteen foreign editions are coming out. I’ve gotten 4 serious offers to turn my book into a T.V. special or movie. In May 1968 my mother killed herself. (She left no note)” (5, p 41). The disjointed nature of Art’s statement portrays his guilt in the sense that no matter what he accomplishes, his life will be insignificant in comparison to his parents’. Because he cannot accept that he will never experience what his parents have, Art has difficulty ever feeling accomplished and instead just feels more guilt. Both Vladek and Art struggle to let go of their pasts as they both find themselves consumed with what has happened rather than what is yet to come. When one cannot deal with guilt within oneself, the feeling of guilt can be transferred to affect another. Art struggles throughout his life to understand why he never had a great relationship with his father. After trying to write with no luck, Art heads to his regular appointment with Pavel, another Holocaust survivor. Pavel suggests that maybe “(Vladek) took his guilt out on YOU, where it was safe… on the REAL survivor.” (7, p 44) Vladek felt guilty about surviving the Holocaust, but instead of accepting it,

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