Did Vladek do anything truly heroic in Spiegelman's Maus?  

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tinicraw | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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A hero is defined as someone who has courage and performs noble deeds. According to that definition, it would be easy to say that Vladek was a quiet and patient hero. Many times the connotation of heroes is considered to include those who attempt great feats of valor or dangerous missions. Although not a Greek demigod, Vladek also shows some valor and attempts dangerous missions during World War II in Poland. Here is a list of things that he does that would consider him a hero: he risks his life to save family members, his wife, and others; he doesn't make rash decisions because he thinks things through first; he takes responsibility for his actions; he accepts people for who they are, but doesn't let mean people affect his will to survive; and he helps others along the way by remaining calm or providing food or objects that they need. What's interesting about heroes today, they usually say, "I just did what anyone would have done." In Maus, we see that in horrific situations like the Holocaust, that's not the case. Vladek was different because he shared and valued life; in return, he was the beneficiary of a few others being kind to him.