In Maus, explain the similarities and differences between Artie and Valdek.

Artie and Vladek share many similarities, but they also have some differences. They both love telling stories and are very honest and accepting people. They are both survivors of the Holocaust who have endured a lot of tragedy in their lives, particularly Vladek. However, they also have some differences. Artie is not as serious as Vladek and has more personable qualities – he is able to thank Mala at the end of each chapter for preparing meals for him even though it may not be as "delicious" as he would like it to be. Artie is also much younger than Vladek.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

There are many similarities and differences between Artie and Valdek in Maus. In chapter 1, readers learn that Vladek is a survivor of the Holocaust. Artie is too young to have experienced these horrors. Artie comments that Mala (Artie's stepmother) "was a survivor too, like most of my parents'...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

There are many similarities and differences between Artie and Valdek in Maus. In chapter 1, readers learn that Vladek is a survivor of the Holocaust. Artie is too young to have experienced these horrors. Artie comments that Mala (Artie's stepmother) "was a survivor too, like most of my parents' friends." Readers also become aware that Artie wants to share his father's stories about the Holocaust, but Vladek believes that "no one wants anyway to hear such stories." Vladek believes that certain aspects of his story should remain private, such as his previous relationship with a woman named Lucia before he was married to Artie's mother, Anja. Artie disagrees with this position, insisting that these "private" details make "great material."

In chapter 2, we learn that Vladek and Art share the pain of a loss in their family: a firstborn son named Richieu, who didn't survive the war. Readers also become aware that in his old age, Vladek relies on many medications and carefully counts out his pills each day. Young Artie does not have these same troubles. Vladek and Artie seem to share a love of stories. Vladek seemingly enjoys sharing the many details of his early years with Anja, and Artie writes down so many of these details that his "hand is sore" from transcribing his father's stories by the end of this chapter.

In chapter 3, Artie shares that while his father has insisted that he should "eat all what is on your plate," Anja was much easier on Artie when he was growing up. In fact, she would sneak Artie some of his favorite foods when Vladek wasn't looking and throw away the old food which Vladek insisted Artie should eat. It is also evident that Artie is more complimentary and personable than his father. When the meal is finished, Artie thanks Mala and expresses his appreciation for the "delicious" food. Vladek, meanwhile, comments that the chicken was "too dry."

Vladek's youth was spent trying to avoid military engagement. His father had tried to help him avoid being drafted into the army and developed a plan to make Vladek look too sickly to fight. For three months, his father only allowed him to sleep for three hours a night and could only eat salted herring so that he would lose a great deal of weight. These sorts of strategies were efforts to keep young Vladek alive. Artie has mostly grown up in America and has never had to face such fears.

Vladek has endured many tragedies, and it certainly shapes his personality. It is sometimes difficult for Artie to accept his father's personality quirks even though he knows about Vladek's painful past.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on