How Vladek is cheap.

Essay by Shehzad712College, UndergraduateA+, November 2003

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Often times, triumphs, struggles, and obstacles seem to represent significant events in an individual's life, but what is overlooked in situations of challenge can teach us life's most important lessons. When we go through situations in life in which we must see things that are disturbing, we tend to change our perspective on the world. In Art Spiegelman's comix, MAUS, we see numerous examples of how Vladek's experiences going through the Holocaust, psychologically scarred him forever. These experiences have made him non-trusting, cheap, and even selfish at times.

First, there was a scenario in the MAUS, in which Vladeks acquaintances pay a guard to let them run away, instead of taking the money and letting the flee, the guards took the money and shot them when they were trying to escape. After being betrayed and seeing friends being lied to, Vladek starts to doubt every individual.

He does not trust anyone, even if they only have good intentions. Mala, Vladek's second wife is always criticized and yelled at by Vladek. There were multiple situations in MAUS, in which Vladek says, "I can't trust that woman, all she wants is my money." The bottom line is that, when an individual is lied to about something, and if that something results in a negative situation, which then brings troubles and problems, the individual begins to not trust anyone. For example, there was a scenario in the comix in which a stranger was caught spying on Vladek and his family. The stranger pleaded, "not guilty" and said he came searching for food for his children. Later, they discovered that the stranger upon whom they bestowed their trust, backstabbed them, and "ratted" them out to the Germans!

Second, having to use the few resources Vladek had, and...