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Study Guide Quiz: Maus I

Answer the following questions in pairs as you read each chapter of the novel. Then hand in the quiz.

Chapter One: The Sheik

1. In the beginning of the novel, what has happened to Arties mother?

2. How long has it been since Artie last visited his father? What kind of relationship do they seem to

3. How does Vladek respond when Artie first asks him about his life in Poland? Why might he be reluctant to talk
about those years?

4. On page 14, we see a close-up of Vladeks arm as he pedals his exercise bike. What is the meaning of the
numbers tattooed on his wrist? What information does this image convey, that might otherwise take several pages
of text?

5. Describe Vladeks relationship with Lucia Greenberg. Why does he choose Anja over Lucia?

Chapter Two: The Honeymoon

1. Describe the events mentioned on pages 29-31. How is Anja involved in this situation? What is the end result?

2. Why does Anja go to a sanitarium? What later event does this scene foreshadow?

3. What does Vladek see while traveling through Czechoslovakia? What is the significance of this?

4. Why does the artist place a swastika in the background panels that depict the plight of Jews in Hitlers Germany
(pg. 35)? What is the visual effect of this artistic decision?

5. Why does Vladek consider taking Anja and Richieu to the town of Sosnowiec? What happens instead?

Chapter Three: Prisoner of War

1. How does Vladeks father try to keep him out of the army? How did he keep himself out of the army, years
before? Do you think this was a smart decision, and why?

2. How does Vladek feel after shooting the German soldier? What does he say? Do you think he is justified in
feeling this way?

3. How are the Jewish P.O.W.s treated? Do they live under the same conditions as the other prisoners? Explain.

4. What is the significance of Vladeks dream about his grandfather? Why is Parshas Truma so important to him?

5. Why doesnt Vladek get off the train in Sosnowiec? How does he arrange to be reunited with his wife and son,
and how does the artist show that he is disguising himself as a Polish Gentile?

6. What is the significance of Vladeks fathers beard and cap? What has happened to him while Vladek was

Chapter Four: The Noose Tightens

1. How does Vladek manage to circumvent food rations and other restrictions on Jews to support himself and his
family? What is the danger in his behavior and how is it shown in the novel?

2. During the brutal mass arrest depicted on pg. 82, Vladek is framed by a panel shaped like a Jewish star. How
does this device express his situation at this moment?

3. How does Vladek try to save his son, and what happens to Richieu? When Vladek tells this story, on page 83,
the first three rows of panels are set in the past, while the bottom three panels return to the present and show
Vladek pedaling his stationary bicycle. Why do you think Spiegelman chose to conclude this anecdote in this
manner, and what is the effect of it?

4. What happened to Vladeks father? What does the scene on pages 92-93 suggest about the ways in which
some Jews died and others survived?

Chapter Five: Mouse Holes

1. The last two chapters of this novel contain the word mouse, and it is arguable that the behavior of the
characters is becoming more mouse-like. What reasons might Spiegelman have for choosing to depict the Jews
this way?

2. How does Prisoner on the Hell Planet depict Art and his family? What do you learn about Art and why do you
think Art has chosen to draw himself in a prison uniform? What is the effect of seeing the mice suddenly depicted
as human beings?

3. What happens to Richieu in the Ghetto in Zawiercie? Do you think his fate is better than that of the children
depicted on page 110?

4. Describe the strategies Vladek used to conceal Anja and himself during the liquidation of the ghetto. How did
the Germans flush them from hiding?

5. What eventually happens to the mouse who informs on the Spiegelmans? What becomes of Haskel, who
refused to save Vladeks in-laws even though he accepted their jewels?

6. What does the incident on pages 120 and 121 tell us about relations between Jews and Germans? Does the
knowledge that some Nazis fraternized with their victims make their crimes more or less horrible?

7. On page 127, the road Vladek and Anja take back to Sosnowiec is in the shape of a swastika. Why does
Spiegelman use this artistic device? How does this use of symbolism express their situation?

Chapter Six: Mouse Trap

1. What do you think Vladek means when he says that reading Arties comic makes him interested in his own
story (page 135)? Is this statement just a product of broken English, or does it reveal some deeper truth about
what happens when we record our personal histories?

2. On page 138, Vladek says that he was able to pass for a member of the Gestapo, but that Anjas appearance
was more Jewish. What visual device does Spiegelman use to show the difference between them?

3. Why does Vladek ride in the official streetcar with the Germans, rather than in the second car with the Poles?
What is the result of this?

4. Do you think Mrs. Motonawa is justified in throwing out the Spiegelmans? Explain.

5. Why does Vladek want to flee to Hungary? How are he and Anja eventually captured? What is the significance
of the letter from Abraham (p. 156)?

2. Why does Art call his father a murderer? Do you think hes justified in this? He has called one other person a
murderer; who was it, and why?

After Reading

1. What does Maus accomplish that pure text narratives cannot? In what way do Spiegelmans crude drawings
help us to visualize things that words, or more realistic images, might be unable to portray? How does Maus I
differ from other graphic novels/comic books you may have read?

2. Overall, what did you think of Maus I ? What specific things did you like/dislike about it?

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