Vladek's Behavior In Maus

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A good deal of Vladek’s behavior in both Maus 1 and 2 could be considered incredibly dominating. During one of Artie’s visits in the first book, Vladek makes the decision to throw away his son’s jacket without asking him first and replacing it with a new one, because the old one looked worn out. Another example takes place before the jacket incident, when Art is sitting at the table with his father and Mala. Vladek demands Aert finish the rest of the food on his plate, treating Art more like a child than the grown man he actually is. In the second book, Vladek continues to display domineering behavior. His first act to try and control what his son does, is by leaving a message for Art saying that he 's had a heart attack. In reality, Mala has…show more content…
When Francoise makes the decision to give the hitchhiker a ride, Vladek mutters to himself in Polish and says things such as, “What’s happened to his wife? She’s lost her head!” and “I just can’t believe it! There’s a shvartser sitting here!” (Spiegelman 99). When they finally drop the hitchhiker off, Vladek explodes in rage at Francoise, demanding to know why she let the hitchhiker into the car and even saying that he had to watch the man the entire time to make sure he didn 't’ steal their groceries. Both Art and Francoise are appalled by this, especially considering the fact that Vladek himself has gone through the racial horror of the Holocaust. Yet, despite this fact, Vladek sees nothing wrong with dehumanizing this man by describing him with a derogatory term, and has absolutely no problem accusing the man of being a potential thief, simply because of the color of his skin. I find that considering that the main plots of both Maus 1 and 2 are Vladek’s story of survival through one of the greatest examples of racism in world history, Vladek’s reaction towards the African-American hitchhiker is not only completely inappropriate, it is incredibly hypocritical and overtly ignorant. It relates to the unit in that Vladek referring to the African-American as a ‘shvartser’ is a form of
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