"Analyze the relationship between Art Spiegelman and his father, Vladek. How do the tensions in their contemporary father-son dynamic complicate the enterprise of recording Vladek’s historical...

"Analyze the relationship between Art Spiegelman and his father, Vladek. How do the tensions in their contemporary father-son dynamic complicate the enterprise of recording Vladek’s historical experience of the Holocaust?"

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mizzwillie | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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In the book Art Spiegelman creates in order to understand his father and what he went through during the Holocaust, Art is bluntly honest about his relationship with his father.  He neither understands his father nor in many areas even likes his father.  When he interviews his father for his book Maus, Art is horrified at what his parents went through and begins at last to understand his father's stinginess with money, his emotional isolation with all the losses he has absorbed, and his complicated relationship with his son, Art.  Trying to record his father is a trying experience as Vladek often quits because the emotion becomes too much to handle just as Artie gets to the crux of what he wants to record.  Vladek is reluctant to go back to the  cruelty and capriciousness of what happens to the people he loves, so he shuts down the memories Artie is trying to capture and understand.  Art desperately wants to know exactly what happened to his father, mother and brother while Vladek is torn between allowing Artie to see the horror while having to relive the terrible memories.  As a result, the recording takes much longer than Artie wishes as well as bringing back memories Vladek had tried to bury.

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