The novel begins with a young writer called Art, asking his father about his World War II experiences so that he can record them and come-up-with a book regarding those experiences. Intertwined throughout the story is the turbulent and pragmatic relationship between Art and his elderly father. His father’s story starts when he met Anja (Art’s mother), who committed suicide after the warfare.
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This was the root of the overwrought relationship that existed between Vladek and his son because he held his father responsibly. Vladek is affected by the Holocaust specter which partially leads to personal traits like aversion to waste and tightfistedness; this infuriates and aggravates his son. Their relationship is continually strained because of these traits/qualities; the pressure also burdens Art.
Vladek and Art are not friendly or close: they are not comfortable with each other. Art feels guilty because he thinks that he does not treat his father as he ought to. Art says that, he is not close to his father and that he has not seen him for some time. In a different scene, Art smashes his roller skate and his friends end up skating without him: this happens to many children all over the world and parents comfort them when confronted with such a situation.
In Art’s case, his father starts to evaluate that situation in-reference-to the Holocaust (Spiegelman, 102). Vladek seemed like he compares everything to the Holocaust and this strained his relationship with the son. Art was also obsessed with the Holocaust because those thoughts filled his father’s mind. Their relationship was not an easy one and they did not feel close like fathers and sons ought to be; Art felt guilty about it. The quilt is a central theme in the story.
Ousmane, Sembene. God’s Bits of Wood (Heinemann African Writers Series). USA: Heinemann.1995. Print.