Make a chart explaining the different type of guilt at play in Maus.

Make a chart explaining the different type of guilt at play in Maus. 

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I'm sorry, this is a short-answer question forum. I have provided you with Gradesaver's analysis of the themes of familial and survivor's guilt below. You should be able to produce your chart using this information.

Familial Guilt

While on its surface Maus is the story of Vladek Spiegelman's experiences in the Holocaust, it is also much more. In many ways, the relationship between Vladek and his son is the central narrative in the book, and this narrative deals extensively with feelings of guilt. Of particular relevance in Maus is the guilt that is associated with the members of one's family. The primary types of familial guilt can be divided into three separate categories: 1) Art's feelings of guilt over not being a good son; 2) Art's feelings of guilt over the death of his mother; and 3) Art's feelings of guilt regarding the publication of Maus.

The simplest form of guilt in Maus is Art's guilt over the fact that he thinks he has not been a good son to his father. Right from the first panel of Book I, we are told that the two of them do not get along particularly well, and that they do not see each other often, though they live fairly close by. Art is always on edge around his father, and when they speak it feels as if an argument could break out at any moment. Indeed, arguments often do break out over, for example, Art's dropping cigarette ash on the carpet, or Vladek's revelation that he has burned Anja's diaries from the war. Vladek often asks his son for help with errands around the house, and Art is always loath to comply. One of the most prominent examples of this situation occurs at the beginning of Chapter 5 of Book I, in which Vladek awakens his son early in the morning to ask for help fixing a drain on his roof. Art refuses, later telling his wife that he would rather feel guilty than travel to Queens to help his father. A few weeks later, during Art's next visit to his father, this guilt is painfully obvious, as he immediately asks his father if he needs help with any chores.

Art's feelings of guilt over the death of his mother are also relatively straightforward. As told in the brief "Prisoner on the Hell Planet" interlude in Chapter 5 of Book I, Art feels responsible for his mother's suicide, believing it to be a product of his own neglect. His last memory of his mother - in which she asks him if he still loves her, and he responds with a cold and dismissive "sure" - is a painful reminder of this disregard. Though this particular form of guilt does not play a major role in the story, it is noteworthy in that Art feels somewhat similar feelings of guilt towards his father, who is still alive.

After the first volume of Maus is published in 1986, four years after his father's death in 1982, Art is still consumed with guilt. The publication of Maus has not alleviated these feelings, and in some ways it has made them worse. "My father's ghost still hangs over me," Art says before walking to his appointment with Pavel. Pavel suggests that Art may be feeling remorse for portraying Vladek unfavorably. Pavel also suggests, in an interesting reversal, that perhaps Vladek himself felt guilty for having survived the Holocaust. This form of guilt, "survivor's guilt," is detailed in the next section.

Survivor's Guilt

The second form of guilt found in the pages of Maus is more thematically complex. This guilt, called "survivor's guilt," is the product of both Vladek and Art's relationships with the Holocaust. Much of Maus revolves around this relationship between past and present, and the effects of past events on the lives of those who did not experience them (see below). In the cases of both men, this relationship often manifests itself as guilt.

Though Art was born in Sweden after the end of World War II, both of his parents were survivors of the Holocaust, and the event has affected him deeply. In Chapter One of Book II, as Art and Francoise are driving to the Catskills, Art reflects on this in detail, and Art's relationship with the past is revealed to predominantly take the form of guilt: "Somehow, I wish I had been in Auschwitz with my parents so I could really know what they lived through! I guess it's some form of guilt about having had an easier life than they did."

Vladek, too, appears to feel a deep sense of guilt about having survived the Holocaust. As Art's guilt persists through the late 1980s, five years after the death of his father, he visits his psychiatrist, Pavel, and the two discuss the nature of guilt and what it means to be a Holocaust "survivor." Vladek's survival in the Holocaust was not the consequence of any particular skill, but the result of luck, both good and bad. Pavel turns the idea of guilt on its head by suggesting that Vladek himself actually felt a strong sense of guilt for having survived the Holocaust while so many of his friends and family did not. And perhaps in response, Vladek took this guilt out on Art, the "real survivor," as Pavel calls him. In essence, Vladek's guilt may have been passed down to his son, establishing the foundation for the volumes of guilt that Art now feels towards his family and its history.