Maus and the Psychological Effects of the Holocaust

1704 Words Sep 2nd, 2013 7 Pages
Maus and the Psychological Effects of the Holocaust
The Maus books are award-winning comics written by Art Spiegelman. They are the non-fictional stories of Art and his father, Vladek. In the book, Art Spiegelman is a writer, planning to portray Vladek’s life as a Jewish man during WWII Europe in comic book form. While Art gathers information for his story through visits to his father’s house, much is learned about their relationship and individual personalities. Through this analysis, Maus becomes an example of how the Holocaust has effected the lives of survivors and their children for decades. Survivors suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which impairs their ability to live normal lives and raise their children. By
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Research has shown that, “people who suffer from PTSD often relive the experience trough nightmares and flashbacks,” (“What”). Survivors’ dreams are most often related to a specific traumatic image or situation the individual was put in, that continues to haunt them years later.
Art shows many signs of anxiety as well. There is barely any frames in the entire story that don't portray him with a cigarette, a common habit practice for relaxation. The meticulous attention he gives to his work, such as decided which animal to draw Francois (his wife) as, also shows this (Maus II 11). Much his anxiety has developed by living with parents who suffer from PTSD. Living with someone who has PTSD can cause symptoms very similar to the disorder itself, and the anxieties of someone, such as a parent, can lead their significant others to feel just as anxious (“Post”).
Vladek shows signs of obsessive-compulsive disorders too. He counts all his pills, money, and even the nails in his shed. He keeps his house completely clean and organized. One time, when Art spills ashes on the carpet, Vladek becomes extremely upset saying, “but look what you do Artie! You are dropping on the carpet cigarette ashes. You want it should be like a stable in here?” (Maus I 52). Vladek is also very controlling of his son. He likes him to be nearby and even throws out Art’s jacket one time to give him a new “nicer” one without telling him (Maus I 68-69). This need to control is
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