What is Art’s True Interpretation?

When I first purchased Maus I was a bit concerned just because when I opened the book I saw it was a comic. A long comic at that. I have never read a comic book in my life, so when I saw this it threw me off a bit. I never thought that I would have enjoyed a book with this style of writing. But I do have to say that it is creative and unique and was quite an easy read. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel. Although I am not quite done I find it intriguing and interesting. I really love the way he makes his dad sound real. And like he’s from Poland with his English sentence structure and choice of words.

On the other hand, one thing I did notice was how Artie feels like he has to compete with his “ghost brother.” Even though I could never picture having to feel envious of someone who has passed, I think that his parents have made it quite clear that they really loved Richieu and made it certain that he would never go out of their memory. This takes a toll on Artie I think simply because even though he tries his best to succeed, he will never add up to his brother. I found it a bit heartbreaking at the end of the novel on the last picture Artie’s dad lays down in bed, groans and says “I’m tired from talking, Richieu, and it’s enough stories for now…” I can only imagine what Artie was feeling at the moment, but I’m sure it didn’t make him feel comforted about his father’s health of mind. I wish that we knew what his true interpretation was of this slide.

What did Art really mean?

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4 thoughts on “What is Art’s True Interpretation?

  1. It seems like you had a discomfort as well as a bit of distrust towards this book. For me, I was rather happy that this novel was a comic book. All of my previous English class never incorporated graphic based novel. I must say the reading experience was very relaxing for I didn’t have to focus on reading carefully to not miss out on any detail. The graphic portion of the novel explained thoroughly on parts that I did not understand and it drew the image for me instead of stressing to view the image in my head. I thought Art’s perspective was quite straight forward. I’m not sure if it’s because of recent exposure to the history of concentration camps but I felt that the story was very straight forward. We, as viewers, may not understand the terror or pain that Art and his family went through but the images allows us to feel at small magnitude. I do agree with you that there were some parts we may not have understood clearly as viewers, but overall the narration using graphic was very helpful to me in analyzing Art’s perspective.

  2. I totally agree with your post, for me it was very interesting to see the relationship between Vladek, Richieu, and Art. But it was very sad to me that Artie felt that he is not good enough to his father. The whole life he was trying to live with the guilt that he escaped the holocaust. It is sad that he is always trying to prove to his father that he is able to do something, but sad that father does a better job then him. Artie just did not feel loved and accepted all his life. He tried his best to earn the same love that Richieu had, but he couldn’t just because he did not go through the holocaust and did not die. I’m sure that Vladek loved both of his sons. But he just so missed Richieu that sometimes he just got so confused between of them. I think at the end of the story Vladek changed Artie’s name to Richieu just to be able to sort of talk to him.

  3. I had the exact same feeling when purchasing this book. I thought I might have even picked up the wrong book, although I did rather enjoy it. The issue with Art and his ghost brother did some what break my heart. He tried so hard to make his dad proud but nothing he does is good enough for his father. It almost seems as if his father is putting his pain for loosing Richieu on Art. That seems to be something you can clearly see is hurting Art but he never confronts his dad about it. The father never truly lets go of Richieu’s death. It even seems like he is blaming himself, or he is guilty for surviving and his son did not. Even with this being true that is no reason for making your living son feel like he has to compete with his dead older brother. He should have showed Art with that same love that he clearly showed for Richieu.

  4. It’s not fair that Artie felt like he had to compete with Richieu. Parents are never supposed to play favorites. Even if the reason Artie’s photo was not on the wall was because he is still alive, that is not right of the parents. Artie should also get his own shot on the wall because he is just as much their child as Richieu is. As a child i always asked my mom if I was her favorite. She always told me that she never had a favorite but I never believed her. With Richieu being the only one with a picture in his parent’s bedroom, it makes it harder to believe that they are not playing favorites.

    I cannot imagine being in Artie’s position at the end of the book. My parents have mess up my name many times, calling me by my brother’s name or even our dogs’ names. However, being called the name of your dead brother would be harder to accept. Parents are often times stressed or rushed and will accidently call their child by the wrong name. They usually pick a name they have said recently. I’m sure Richieu did not come up often in daily conversations at the Speiglemen house except when writing the book. And even then he was not mentioned a whole lot. For this I feel like Richieu really was the favorite. He could still be thought of as having the potential to go far in life; a chance that Vladek felt Artie did not have in comics.

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