Chapter 1 – 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?
Art Spiegelman uses mice to show how Germans and Polish people thought of Jewish people. The mice represent how Germans and Polish considered the Jewish as insignificant and dirty.
Chapter 2 – Why does Ms. Stefanska go to jail? What role did Anja play in Ms. Stefanska’s going to jail?
She goes to jail because the police find communist papers in her shop. The papers were given to her to hide by Anja, because the police suspected her of having communist papers.
Chapter 3 – What does Vladek mean on page 50, when he says, “Well at least I did something.” Do you believe that he is justified in feeling this way? Explain.
Vladek means that even if he got captured, he killed one German. This is justified because he did help his side even if it was very little.
Chapter 4 – Although Jews were allowed only limited rations under the Nazi occupation, Vladek manages to circumvent these restrictions for a while. What methods does he use to support himself and his family?
Vladek does business with Mr. Ilzecki, trades gold and jewelry, and sells items to small shops illegally.
Chapter 5 – How did Vladek care for Anja after the destruction of the Srodula ghetto? Contrast his behavior toward his first wife, during the worst years of the war, with the way he now treats Mala.
Vladek was always very kind to Anja, and he helped her to stay alive during the war. Now, Vladek is always fighting with Mala.
Chapter 6 – Why does Artie call his father a murderer? Is he justified? Who else has he called a murderer, and why?
Art calls his father a murderer because he burned Anja’s notebooks, which were a representation of Anja herself. He calls his mother a murderer in “Prisoner on the Hell Planet” because she “killed” him by killing herself.
Part 2 – Write an overall impression of what Vladek went through in Auschwitz and how it changed him. How has it affected Artie and Francoise?
In Auschwitz, there were very bed conditions, very little food, people were crowded together, and they had to do crazy exercises every day. The people were given very difficult jobs, and often punished for no reason. Everyone would steal from each other if they got the chance. This caused Vladek to save everything, take anything that is free, and collect everything he finds useful. Vladek never wants to buy anything if he can get it for free or do it himself. This bothers Art and Francoise, because he never wants them to use things he has to buy. It also causes them to have to live with Vladek after Mala leaves him.
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