Maus is Art’s autobiography. More specifically, it is a story of how he strove to come to terms with the Holocaust traumas of his parents. Our experience of the Holocaust is filtered through his eyes, and we witness the effects of his upbringing as a child of Holocaust survivors. We experience the special difficulties he faced as an artist representing the Holocaust and his father’s deeply personal memories.
The other protagonist of Maus is Vladek, whose autobiography provides the other main storyline of the text. In Vladek, we have a protagonist who has many heroic characteristics – cunning, strength, even a little luck. But Vladek is also flawed. At times, he can be self-centered, neurotic, demanding, and emotionally draining – particularly toward the end of his life.