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Analysis Of ' A Survivor 's Tale '

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At its very core Maus is, as the title states, “a survivor’s tale.” By the very nature of being the tale of a survivor, this story carries with it the baggage of memories. The memories of Vladek bring forth survivor’s guilt and a need to place blame. This all ties in to one of the central themes of Maus: the implications of recounting memories. These implications affect Vladek in various ways as he recounts his tale of survival to Art. In recounting this tale, Art shares in his father’s baggage to a significant degree through the weight that comes from hearing and telling someone else’s story.
By Vladek telling his story to his son, someone he trusts with more private details, we are able to get a deeply personal account of Vladek’s life.
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Throughout the two volumes Art is able to understand his father and the tense relationship between them better by digging deep into his father’s memories. In a lot of ways, bringing Vladek’s memories to the present is therapeutic for their relationship, at least as far as Art’s perspective goes. Art is able to see the things that his father went through, making it easier to understand some of the actions and attitudes of Vladek in the present. It is debatable, however, whether these memories are as therapeutic to Vladek as they are to Art as on many occasions Vladek has to stop telling the story for the day because it is too much for him to handle.
The act of remembering an event as dark and traumatic as the holocaust is bound to bring back painful memories. Vladek retelling his story is more than just passing down his memories to his son; it’s bringing those memories to the present in a very real and impactful way. One question these books raise is whether an event such as the holocaust can truly be explained in a way that is understandable to someone who didn’t live through it. In fact, Art even has to interrupt his father to tell him he has to keep the story chronological or else he won’t understand it (Vol. 1:82). This, unfortunately, prevents Vladek from recounting his memories in the way that is most natural for him in dealing with the pain of the past, in favor of recounting his memories in the way that is most natural for Art to
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