Maus is primarily a book about a survivor’s account of the holocaust, but Maus also tells a story about a family relationship. The bulk of Maus focuses on Vladek Spiegelman describing his experience of the holocaust for his son’s book. The story uses flashbacks to show how Valdek survived. His account of how trusting his gut and a little bit of luck makes for a riveting story. However, I find the other story in Maus to be more interesting.
The other story I’m talking about is the story of Valdek and his relationship with his son Art. Their relationship is very complicated. Art has a hard time understanding what his father went through, and he doesn’t try very hard to relate to his feelings. Valdek loves Art, but he also puts a lot of expectation on him. According to the book Valdek would always tell Art that he could do something better. Valdek has learned many skills throughout his life which explains why he never wants to hire people. Art is constantly telling him to just pay for workers. During the holocaust Valdek survived by using everything he could find, but this trait makes him look very stereotypical. This is something that Art can’t stand about his father.
Another thing that creates a gap in this relationship is the other brother Richieu. Art feels that his father almost idolizes him. “The photo never threw tantrums or got in any kind of trouble…” Art says about the photo of his dead brother. Art never knew Richieu but he’s almost built up a sort of rivalry with him. He feels like he will never be able to live up to the expectations of what Richieu could have been. Valdek doesn’t help by accidentally calling Art his brother’s name on the last page of the book. The story of Valdek and Art is the base of Maus, and in my opinion the better story.