Books and Movies Reviews

Conflict in Maus ll

The controversial graphic novel, Maus II is wrought with conflict. The characters are all at odds with each other, and while their arguments might seem petty, there are underlying themes with important messages. For example, the conflict between Art and his father Vladek represents the theme of a quest for understanding. Art has trouble understanding what his father went through and how he was affected, and Vladek has trouble understanding that his son is living in a new age, away from the Holocaust and his terrible past.
Vladek and his son Art are from different times and places, and so they are constantly arguing and bickering. The inciting incident of this conflict in Maus II is when Vladek fakes a heart attack to get Art to come visit him. Immediately, the fact that Vladek needed to pretend to be dying just to get his son to visit him stands out as an obvious sign of an unhealthy relationship, at best. From this point on, it becomes increasingly apparent that there is a major conflict between father and son.
Throughout the novel, Art tries, if grudgingly, to ease the tension that is ever present in his relationship with his father. After the false alarm of Vladek's heart attack, Art reluctantly stays with his father, to make sure that he can take care of himself. Though this act was in a sense an act of compassion and good will, it turns out to be a mistake. Vladek is a miserable roommate, especially for a married couple. Living with him, even for just a night, tries Art's already frayed patience.The conflict increases further when Vladek tries to sell half-eaten goods back to the market.
Art does not understand his father's interminable need to save money, as he never experienced anything similar to the Holocaust. Also, when they pick up a black hitchhiker, Art does not understand Vladek's racist views, since Vladek suffered so much due to racism.
The conflict comes to a head when Art finds that…


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