Maus 1: Chapter 5
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Mouse Holes presents a short interruption of "Prisoner on the Hell Planet" comprises an additional narrative voice in Maus, making a total of four voices (past, present, meta, and "prisoner"). The comic represents an entirely new and radically different artistic style than the simple and subdued style present throughout the rest of the book. The characters have distinctly human faces, and the drawings are marked by sharp angles, altered perspectives, and often surreal and grotesque human forms. But while the artistic style differs, it shares with Maus the theme of guilt. In "Prisoner on the Hell Planet" Art feels an unbearable sense of guilt over his mother's suicide, facilitated by the fact that his relatives seem to blame him as well. His cardinal sin, he feels, is one of neglect. This is poignantly driven home through Art's memories of the last time he saw his mother alive, when she came into his room and asked him if he still loved her. His answer, a dismissive "sure," is a constant reminder of his perceived neglect. Art's guilt over his mother's death is noteworthy for its similarity to the guilt that he feels regarding his father. This guilt is also based on neglect, and is highlighted at the beginning of this chapter, when Art refuses to help his father fix a leak on his roof.
In the analysis of the previous chapter, the question was posed as to why the Holocaust affected Vladek differently than Anja or Mala. One possible reason, explained in more detail in the previous chapter, is the fact that different people had different ways of coping with the horrors of the Holocaust. Vladek's means of survival - his resourcefulness and ability to use even the smallest of items for his benefit - clearly had an effect on his personality in later years. But while Vladek relied on his own resourcefulness, Anja relied primarily on others for her survival. Before she was taken to the concentration camps, she was almost completely reliant upon her husband for food and shelter. After the death of their son, it was Vladek who convinced her to live.
Anja's only post-Holocaust appearance within Maus occurs during the "Prisoner on the Hell Planet" comic, but though her appearance is brief, we can discern a great deal about her personality. In the comic, she is clearly depressed and on the verge of suicide. Her only line of dialogue is a question posed to her son, asking him if he still loves her. Art's response, a terse "sure," is far from reassuring. From this scene, we can surmise that Anja feels both alone and unloved. Cut off from the support of her family, she eventually kills herself. Just as she was dependent upon the kindness of others for survival during the Holocaust, her post-Holocaust personality is similarly defined by dependence. And just as Vladek's means of survival later manifested themselves in extreme forms, Anja's means of survival - her dependence on others - has manifested itself in a form so extreme that it eventually leads to suicide.
This chapter also deals with survival, another important theme of the book. As the Nazi brutality continues to worsen, the instinct for survival begins to overpower the powerful bonds of Jewish identity. This is first seen in the form of the Jewish Police. They are just as brutal as the Nazis, and almost indistinguishable from them save for the Stars of David on their shoulders. Vladek tells his son that some of these Jewish police felt that they could actually help the Jewish cause, but many joined in an attempt to save their own lives. The bonds of family break soon after, as Vladek's cousin, Haskel, will not help him without first receiving some form of payment. Says Vladek: "At that time it wasn't any more families. It was everybody to take care for himself!"
Could you just list the mouse holes?