Comparsion Of Parenting Approaches Of Vladek In Maus And Hans In The Book Thief

June 23, 2022 by Essay Writer

Throughout Maus and The Book Thief, both Vladek and Hans display different ways of affection and in the way that they engage with their children, however, they both have one thing in common which are their good intentions. Despite going through similar times, Vladek seems to have a more stern approach than Hans who is not shy of showing his patience and gentleness.

In Maus, the readers are under the impression that Vladek looms as a hero considering his survival during the Holocaust. In his version of the story, he is a good looking, intelligent, ambitious young man. During the tough times of war Vladek is faced with many obstacles yet seems to almost always persevere through with his prominent interpersonal skills. This is demonstrated when he escaped the war numerous times and still continued to provide for his family. While Vladek perceives himself as this strong, resourceful hero, having gone through many challenges, his personality has changed over time. As he grows older, he becomes more stubborn and is burdened by memories of suffering, fear and loss. Artie’s therapist believes these expressions are due to the guilt he feels for surviving the Holocaust. Artie documents his father Vladek’s significant experience and, and we learn a lot about their relationship. Considering Vladek is Arties father, Artie doesn’t doubt what Vladek says about his past because children usually see their fathers as heroes anyway. We have seen that Vladek is a loving father to Artie, and he always has good intentions despite their constant bickering, but it doesn’t always come off that way. Vladek is very opinionated and tends to disregards other people’s opinions and goes against better judgement. For instance, despite Anja’s objection, he still sent Richieu away, which ended up in his death. Artie and his father clearly have a strained relationship and this is due to how strongly Vladek perceives himself. Nothing Artie does is considered good enough to Vladek because it doesn’t compare to what he achieved in his life. ‘“Mainly I remember arguing with him… and being told that I couldn’t do anything as well as he could,” Art tells his therapist. “No matter what I accomplish, it doesn’t seem like much compared to surviving Auschwitz”’. Another reason for their tense relationship is because Artie constantly feels like a replacement for Richieu. There is an underlying sense that he feels like there is almost “sibling rivalry” between them because he can never seem to compete with Riechus pureness. Despite all of these flaws readers can’t help but sympathise with Vladek considering all that he has been through, such as surviving the Holocaust, his first being son murdered, his wife committing suicide, and helping Artie cope with his mental illness. As Vladek tells more stories about his past, even Artie begins to understand why he does the things he does.

Throughout The Book Thief, Hans has repeatedly shown affection and care for his family and everyone else around him. His ability to care for others has clearly been displayed when we see how he treats Liesel and his wife, takes in Max, and how he helps Jews despite the consequences. Something that helps him accomplish these things is his ability to appear as an ordinary poor man to the outside world. While he is a warm hearted father and citizen, Hans is hot headed and quick to act before thinking of consequences. For instance, he decided to bring Max home before consulting it with Rosa, and he gave the old Jewish man bread which resulted in him getting beaten. Thankfully however, these reckless acts never fully endangered him because the Nazis never searched his house because they could never imagine that such an “ordinary” man would do such things. Liesel and Hans have had a special bond since the beginning of the novel, and they only become closer as time goes on. When Liesel first arrived at her new foster home Hans was one of the only people who were truly there for her. For instance, when Liesel was having nightmares about her brother, Hans would be there to comfort her until she fell back asleep. He also taught her how to read, and played the accordion to soothe her. She says ‘sometimes I think my papa is an accordion, when he looks at me and smiles and breathes I hear the notes’. This displays how both the accordion and Hans bring her happiness.

Overall, Vladek in Maus and Hans from The Book Thief have completely different mindsets despite going through similar experiences. For instance, the war makes Vladek more stubborn, selfish and self centered. On the other hand, Hans remains, gentle, kind, and warm hearted through the tough times. Their different approaches to parenting their children are not only displayed in the way that Artie and Liesel act, but truly affect their lives. Artie deals with depression, and his relationship with his father may have contributed. Their overall families dynamic and relationship is less inviting and loving than Han’s family who loves and accepts everyone.


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