Spiegelman’s Maus is a graphic novel which explores events of the holocaust and the uniting of a father and son. Though often overlooked the dedications play an integral role in better understanding the text. The dedications do not influence the meaning of the book but do reinforce events in the book. Spiegelman dedicates the first book to his mother as an attempt to rid himself of the guilt associated with his mother’s suicide. In an attempt to not have the same short comings as his father, Art associates his most prized work with the most prized people in his life. Richieu is often disregarded in the book however he is vital in Spiegelman’s eyes. The book in its entirety is highly important as it is a dedication to a whole race.
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This is in stark contrast to the relationship between him and his own father. In the prologue of the book a young Artie comes crying home to his father as his friends had skated way without him, to this Vladek remarks “If you lock them together in a room with no food for a week then you could see what it is, friends”. Being hit by this surge of reality is difficult for a ten year old to grasp and is evidence of how Vladek lacks empathy. Vladek’s selfish nature is seen when he feigns a heart attack in an attempt to gain a visit from Artie. The dedication to his children is an attempt by Spiegelman to be the father that he longed for as a child.
Richieu is described as the ideal kid “who never threw tantrums or got in any kind of trouble.” Despite this sibling rivalry with a photo, Spiegelman dedicates the book to Richieu. All that remained of Richieu was a large blurry picture which hung in Art’s parents’ bedroom. Though only a picture it was very real to Spiegelman and influenced his own decisions in life. This is supported by the closing panel in the story where Vladek calls Artie, Richieu before going to sleep. Though he had never met Richieu, Spiegelman was dedicating the book to someone he knew very well as the brothers are the same in essence.
Though they are not directly mentioned, the Jewish people who suffered during the holocaust receive the biggest dedication. The book is a