Maus: A Survivor's Tale
Guilt and Blame Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
“So…are you going out to Queens?” “No way – I’d rather feel guilty! Besides, I’m too busy, and he can easily afford to hire somebody.” (I.4.99)
Art feels a lot of guilt over not helping his father. But then again, his father’s expectations seem so unrealistic that Art seems bound to fail.
“Congratulations! … You’ve committed the perfect crime … You put me here … shorted all my circuits … cut my nerve endings … and crossed my wires! … You murdered me, Mommy, and you left me here to take the rap!!!” (I.5.105)
In “Prisoner on Hell Planet,” Art depicts himself as a prisoner jailed for “killing” his mother or contributing to her suicide. But in his last lines, he accuses his mother of murdering him and leaving him in prison to take the blame for…murdering himself. Is he saying that feeling guilty over his mother’s suicide is unrealistic, like feeling guilty over murdering himself? Is he lashing out at his mother, unable to forgive her for killing herself? Or is he taking the blame for everything – his mother’s suicide, his inability to help her is a form of murdering himself?
“Talking about your estate just makes me uncomfortable.” (I.5.128)
In a way, the whole book is about Art’s uneasiness with his father’s “estate,” beyond the material sense of the word. He’s also concerned with his father’s legacy in a broader sense, in the sense of a cultural tradition, and also in the sense of psychological or emotional baggage.