This is a graphic memoir. A graphic memoir tells a person’s life through text and drawings. Why does Art Spiegelman use mice instead of people to portray the characters in the story? What do the mice represent?
On page 11, Spiegelman tells us that his father’s second wife Mala was a survivor too, like most of his parents’ friends. Why does Spiegelman call Mala a survivor? What does he mean?
What kind of relationship does Art Spiegelman and his father, Vladek have? Use specific pictures and text to support your answer.
Why is the chapter called “The Sheik”?
Why does Vladek choose Anja over Lucia? What do you think of his choice?
Why does Vladek ask Art not to write about Lucia in his book? Why doesn’t Art listen to his father? Do you think it is right for Art to break his promise?
Chapter Two The Honeymoon
Why does Ms. Stefanska go to jail? What role did Anja play in Ms. Stefanska’s going to jail?
On page 31, Vladek says that he left Anja and their new baby to go to Bielsko to run his new factory and find an apartment for them to live in. How does Anja respond? Have you or members of your family ever had to separate in order to start a new job or new life? How did it feel for the people who moved on? How did it feel for the people who were left behind?
When do Vladek and Anja realize that the war is coming? How do they know? Use specific pictures and text to support your answer.
What happens after Vladek and Anja return from Czechoslovakia? What are they afraid of?
Why does Vladek consider taking Anja and Richieu to the town of Sosnowiec? Do they eventually go to Sosnowiec? Where does Vladek go?
Why doesn’t Vladek tell the doctor in the hospital about his glass eye? What does this say about Vladek’s character?
Why did Spiegelman portray his father’s story as a comic strip?
Maus portrays the Holocaust or a genocide. A genocide is a deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group. Do you know of any recent genocides? How are these genocides similar to the Holocaust? How are they different?
What would you have done if you were a Jew living in Poland during the Second World War? What would you have done if you were a Pole? A German? Why?
How did people survive in Poland during the Second World War? How do you think these survivors felt after the war? Why?
In Maus, Art interviews Vladek about the Holocaust. How reliable do you think Vladek’s memory is? Why?
What happens to people who live under a terror regime for a long period of time? Should people adapt to a terror regime? Explain.