Study Guide

Mala Spiegelman in Maus: A Survivor's Tale

By Art Spiegelman

Mala Spiegelman

Mala, also a Holocaust survivor, is Vladek’s second wife; she knew Vladek and Anja before the war. She and Vladek are constantly squabbling over money. As another Holocaust survivor, Mala, like Pavel, helps Art understand the different ways that survivors dealt with their Holocaust experience. Mala shares Art’s frustration with Vladek’s neuroses – his obsessive hoarding, his penny-pinching. And just as Art feels that he will never live up to the memory of his dead brother, Mala feels that Vladek holds up his dead first wife, Anja, as an impossible ideal. But is Mala free of her own neuroses? Her obsession with Vladek’s will seems to come out of a deep sense of insecurity and anxiety about her future.