Though Maus focuses largely on the Jewish people, the narrative generally avoids issues of religion. To what extent are the major characters religious? What role does religion play in their lives? We’re going to talk about if and to what extent Artie and his father Vladek are religious and why we believe religion is avoided in the book.
Surprisingly, Maus doesn’t include much talk about religion while it could and maybe should be a big theme in the book as the story is told by a Jew, captured because of his religion. We feel this might be done on purpose because of several reasons.
One of the explanations is focused on the narrative point of view. The story is mostly focussed on Vladek and in the book it becomes evident Vladek doesn’t really want to be remembered about the war, for example when he burns Anja’s diaries. As Judaism is the only reason he was captured, he is probably less likely to mention it.
Another explanation comes from the writer’s point of view. Artie doesn’t exactly tell the story like his father told him because that’s simply impossible. Thus, Artie has a big influence on the way the story is told. This could explain the lack of religion because the writer doesn’t want to focus on the fact that they’re Jewish but on the fact they’re normal human being to emphasise the horrors of the war. Although this is true there are a few small mentions on the religion of both Vladek and Artie.
Firstly, we’d like to focus on Artie. We know that he was raised religious because his bar mitzvah is mentioned in the book. So we are allowed to expect him being still religious while he doesn’t mention it a lot.
On the other hand, Vladek is extremely religious. We know this by several of the stories that he told. For example on page 59 where he talks about his dream about Parshas Truma and it becoming reality. It is remarkable to notice that Artie doesn’t know what a Parshas is and thus we can conclude he isn’t that extremely religious
Furthermore, Vladek tells us he used to pray each day while in the camps because it kept him going and there was nothing else to do. Also, he quite often tells stories about speaking a lot of Yiddish with other Jews to avoid Germans understanding them.
We can conclude that religion does play a big role in Vladek’s life but Artie and thus Art Spiegelman doesn’t let it play a big part in his life and the book.