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Is Vladek's Inviolable Value Of Human Life?

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It is unlikely that Vladek1, the stingy and occasionally insufferable Auschwitz survivor and father of Artie Spiegelman, would be described as a philanthropist- a man seeking to encourage humankind with compassion and perhaps donations of money to a good cause. On the contrary, within Art Spiegelman 's Mauz, Vladek was accused of being "more attached to things than people" by his own wife, Mala. It 's an accusation that alludes towards the belief that objects, tradable goods and commerce holds a greater value to Vladek than people. Anyone, or rather a large quantity of people, would disagree with Vladek, claiming that people have an inherent, intrinsic value far above worldly goods, or systems of commerce. It seems almost contradictory that…show more content…
So, although it is often assumed that the value of human life has an irreducible, theological value that cannot be revoked under any circumstances, there is something to be said for the behavior of Vladek and his Jewish peers, that it both reduced this "irreducible, theological value" and put a tradable price upon it. I can only conclude from the evidence provided before me, in the series of events within Mauz, that the theoretical, inviolable value that so many have placed on human life is unsustainable and purely idealistic. During times of great struggle, such as the Jewish Holocaust, the real intrinsic value of things become clear; people die easily, change their minds often, and are unreliable, while objects like food, clothing and bargainable treasures will never lose their life sustaining qualities. For instance, Vladek and Anja were repeatedly sold out, betrayed, and put in danger by other people whom they trusted, and those people were easily bought out by a better offer than what Vladek and Anja could offer. On the contrary, Vladek saved his possessions greedily, measuring the value of people 's friendships and his possessions by what they could do for him in the future. He took the shoes from dying men, though perhaps robbing them of their dignity, because the shoes would do him more good than a dying man 's dignity. What actual, substantial value does another human 's life have to a starving, suffering Jew if he or she cannot gain profit from them? What value…show more content…
Subsequently, it can only be assumed that the intrinsic value of human life is adjustable. Although it is nearly worthless, and sustaining the life of others was purely a strategic move on Vladek 's part during the war, the same could not be said for after the war. The saving of possessions was a necessity for survival during the war, whereas he learned to use his wealth stingily and it made him rich after the war. The other behavior he learned during the war, treating people according to the value they would have during war times, left him bankrupt. He was lonely, of course, because he hadn 't discerned the new effects of his war-learned behavior and ideologies- which ones still did him good, and which ones would lead to his isolation if he refused
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