Helping Other People In Maus

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After reading Maus, a comic book written by Art Spiegelman, I have been asked to present one theme. Therefore, I decided to focus my reflection on all kinds of guilt present in the book as well as in the movie The Schindler List.

We may observe several types of guilt in the book. At first, most of the people who survived the camps experience a feeling of survivor’s guilt. In this case, the Holocaust survivors feel guilty to be allowed to live since others died in the camps. What if they were sent to the bad side during the separation between women, men, children, elderly, ill, or weak? Today, everyone knows one of the most common feelings after surviving the Holocaust is guilt.

Moreover, in Maus, Artie sometimes feels like he should have experienced what his parents experienced to understand what they went through. Not sharing his father’s experience of the Holocaust and living without suffering from such traumatism could be considered as another kind of guilt. In my opinion, Art’s sadness due to knowing just a little of his father’s story helped him to take the initiative to document and question his father while he has the time.

Thirdly, Art and Vladek both feel guilty over letting Anja die. They regret not being able to save her life.

Because the author tells us his own story as an author, it ensures the reliability of this book. Indeed, Vladek is describing his own experiences as a Polish Jew and a survivor of Auschwitz and only reports them to us. On the contrary, because it is presented in a cartoon way, I sometimes feel it was a bit simple and objective. However, that gives the reader an easy approach to this kind of “dark” stories which I find anyway really important. In my opinion, we can rely on Maus for the reason I mentioned above. I enjoyed reading this book because I found the grandfather’s story interesting but also the way of showing relationships with his son.

Guilt is more clear in the book than in the movie. However, we can still pick up some examples in the movie as well. The point of view has its importance on how this theme will be evoked. On one side, we learn the story through the eyes of a Jew, and on the other way it’s thanks to the story of German meaning guilt would not be mentioned similarly. Anyway, in my opinion, guilt in the movie only concerns Schindler’s sadness to not have saved more lives of Jews. Indeed, in the end, even if we see him as a kind man who gave everything to help others he seems to regret not saving more lives. According to him, he should have done more by writing more names on his list for example.

I will conclude by saying that Schindler’s character shows us that one man can make a huge difference by choosing to do the right thing to help others even if he could not have done so.

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