Can you imagine living in a world where the only protection you have is the amount of money you have in your pockets? You don't have much to lean on, even family for that matter. Would you be able to hide? If you were caught, do you think you would survive?
These questions aren't far from reality for some, in fact during the years of 1941-1945 there was a Jewish genocide that killed millions. Art Speigelman’s Maus: A Survivors Tale tells the story of a mouse's struggle to keep him and his family alive. Artie is the son of Vladek and Anja, his parents survived the Holocaust.
In the story Anja commits suicide and Artie makes a comic of how he felt during the time. His father Vladek finds the comic and is distraught. Artie goes to see his father and finds out that his father read the comic and that he want to talks. As the two go on their walk to the bank, Vladek begins to talk about the Holocaust and the hardships that he had to go through. The Jewish were relocated to the ghettos of Srodula and German soldiers were sent to watch over them. The German soldiers would walk the Jews to and from work. The Jews with no money, and those that were very old and very young were taken to Auschwitz. Meanwhile plenty of Jews were dying including Vladek's family members, Vladek, Anja, and friends hid in a bunker. The Jews were soon discovered in their bunker after they took pity on a man who swore he wasn't on the German's side. Anja's dad who was a millionaire died, during those hard times even money couldn't solve everything. Vladek recalls a time that he almost got killed for just walking in the street, luckily his papers showed that he came from a family with good connections, otherwise he would have died. The Germans were determined to finish clearing out the ghettos and as they were coming for Vladek and his friends they made one last attempt to hide, they hid in a shoe bunker away from the German soldiers. The guard house light had been off for two days, they decided to make a break for it, the group split up and went their own ways.The comic ends with them at the bank and Vladek telling his son that as soon as he dies he wants him to come take all of his money so his wife can't.
This work relates to "The Myth of Superman by Umberto Eco. In Eco's essay he discusses how Superman may have came from Jewish creators, but he is a hero that evokes eternal themes from the Bible. Eco also mentions that Superman's creators made him both literary and mythical. Although Vladek isn't a superhero, he could be considered a literary hero. He was able to keep Anja and himself alive during several difficult "battles", the whole Holocaust was one long fight. He risked the chance of death when he had to find food and still tried to provide for his family. His fate was unpredictable unlike a mythical hero, we didn't know if he was going to Auschwitz or if he would stay in the ghetto. Vladek could also be considered a hero due to the night the man comes wandering into his bunker "looking for food", they should have killed him to guaranteed their safety. Instead he decided to keep him alive, he wants the best for humanity.