Maus

10 October 2016

In the comic style book Maus, the theme of survival is expressed in many different ways. The Holocaust was a big part of the Jews heritage and not many survived. The amount of people that did survive by hiding and other things was very small. Luck plays a very big role throughout the book of Maus and as it did during the real life holocaust. And because of this luck, that’s why the few that survived, actually survived. Vladek was lucky as he had a good education, which allowed him to speak different languages to help him survive and was generally smarter than a lot of the others.

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In many occasions his survival was based on luck. It was luck when the bullet missed him at the prisoner’s camp. Also when he got kicked out of the house and found a construction site to hide in. He hid there for a while and didn’t get captured by the Nazi’s. Another example of luck is when he gets beaten up for throwing food to Anja, usually you would get killed but he was lucky enough to just get beaten up. In my opinion luck was the key role in Vladek’s survival. Another factor which contributed to survival was that he was very smart mentally.

At first he was very stubborn and did not use his skills wisely or well, but as you read further into the book, he began using his intelligence to his advantage and it was this intelligence that helped him survive. There were also his resources that he had, such as people he knew. This enabled him to get the necessary food, supplies, protection and shelter to survive. He was smart enough to get the right supplies by trading with the Polish workers. He had the skill of repairing shoes which helped him to earn money in order to buy different things.

Being resourceful came in handy when it came to the concentration camps. When he first escaped the Prisoner of War camps, Vladek disguised himself as a non-Jewish Pole so he could get on a train to go home. First, after Vladek and Anja were captured for trying to escape to Hungary, Vladek helped a Polish man write letters to his family. The letters had to be in German, and the man did not know how to speak German. The man, in return, shared his food with Vladek. Later, in Auschwitz, Vladek got on good terms with his Polish block supervisor by teaching him how to speak English.

This saved him from being sent to the gas chambers on more than one occasion and earned him both food and a uniform that fit. The block supervisor also helped Vladek to get a job working in a tin shop. Maus explored the theme of ‘survival’ in many ways. Survival was hard and most people didn’t survive but for those who did, they suffered very much after. With things like depression from memories and also losing loved ones. The book also explores Vladeks clever use of the skills he has in order to keep himself from being killed on many occasions. If Vladek didn’t have the factors that contributed to survive, he would not be able to survive.

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