A Survivor Feeling Guilty of His Survival Essay example

1619 Words Oct 12th, 2011 7 Pages
In the aftermath of a horrific experience, it is not uncommon for a survivor to feel guilty about their survival. The most difficult thing for survivors can be finding the ability to move beyond what has happened and look toward the future. An individual is often shaped by their past experiences. If ensuing guilt is not dealt with, however, the past can hinder the ability to achieve in the present. In Art Spielgelman’s MAUS II, Vladek and Art struggle to live in the present and are laden with guilt from their pasts. When not properly dealt with, guilt can become an overpowering emotion, governing decisions and depleting self motivation. To move successfully past debilitating guilt one often must learn to be accepting of the past and …show more content…
Vladek already had Art closely attached because of their father son relationship, so to relieve the feeling of guilt within himself, Vladek made Art believe that he was not as important. To justify his own past, Vladek had to put others down to bring himself up, and the easiest target was his son. When one feels that everything they do is less than what someone else has done, it can manifest itself as guilt. Art accomplishments are clouded by his father’s, feeling that he can never do anything that will ever compare. The “fifteen foreign editions” and “4 serious offers to turn (MAUS) into a T.V. special or movie” (5, p 41) are meaningless for Art because they still do not compare to surviving the Holocaust. Pavel sternly points his finger at Art when he says “On the REAL survivor.” Art is the one who really has to survive his father’s history at Auschwitz. He never lived through the Holocaust, but Art felt the effects through his father throughout his entire life. Childhood is the most critical time for developing and shaping thought processes in humans. Art looked up to his father as a child; therefore his childhood was shaped by feelings of unimportance and guilt. He is the “REAL survivor” because Vladek took the easy way out, dumping his guilt on his son, leaving Art to deal with guilt

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