April 20, 2009
Vladek vs Artie
The story Maus is filled with many interesting characters, among these, the character Vladek has a very unique personality. Vladek is a very stingy, stubborn individual who sometimes does things that a normal person might find weird. It seems that the greatest explanation for some of his bizarre actions is that he had witnessed and been through more than the average person. His mannerisms are not only irritating to his son, but to almost every person who he is close to. Vladek's obnoxious ways of going about things may have unknowingly to him built a barrier between the relationship that he has with his son Art.
Vladek's personality is shown right from the beginning when he gets angry with Mala for giving Art a wire hanger for his coat as opposed to a wooden one, “ A wire hanger you give him! I haven't seen Artie in almost two years- we have plenty of wooden hangers.(p. 11)” As soon as Vladek starts telling about his life to Artie, however, we see almost a completely different Vladek than the present day one. The young Vladek seemed like a very enthusiastic, fun-loving man. He treated people with respect, especially Anja. He never lost his temper with Anja the way that he does with Mala. Throughout the war he seemed to try and be friendly to everyone, mainly because he knew that if he became friends with some people then they could help him later on. One of the most shocking things that Vladek did that seemed completely out of character was when he helped out a man that he knew from the concentration camp. This man who he met had shoes that were too small for him, pants that were too big, needed a spoon. Vladek had the connection to get all of these things from one of the guards and he did so. Vladek didn't even ask for anything in exchange he simply did it out of the kindness of his heart. The young Vladek seemed like a person who most people could get along...