Maus

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Artie’s wife, a French woman who converted to Judaism after her marriage in order to please Vladek. Level-headed and even-tempered, Françoise is often called upon to defuse tension between her husband and father-in-law. She also offers Artie a sounding board for the depressive, anxious thoughts that disturb him while working on Maus. Though she occasionally becomes impatient with her husband’s guilt-ridden neuroticism, Françoise is generous and supportive throughout all the Spiegelman family’s most trying moments.

Françoise Mouly Quotes in Maus

The Maus quotes below are all either spoken by Françoise Mouly or refer to Françoise Mouly . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Pantheon edition of Maus published in 1993.
Part 1, Chapter 5 Quotes

He wants me to go help him fix his roof or something. Shit! Even as a kid I hated helping him around the house. He loved showing off how handy he was … and proving that anything I did was all wrong. He made me completely neurotic about fixing stuff. I mean, I didn’t even own a hammer until we moved into this place! One reason I became an artist was that he thought it was impractical — just a waste of time … it was an area where I wouldn’t have to compete with him.

Related Characters: Arthur (Artie) Spiegelman (speaker), Vladek Spiegelman , Françoise Mouly
Page Number: I.97
Explanation and Analysis:

Artie has a tough relationship with his father. Vladek is a stern, overbearing father, intensely critical of his son. Vladek's behavior seems a little surprising, considering how much hardship he went through during the Holocaust. He attacks Artie for the smallest, most trivial of mistakes--as if constantly disapproving of Artie for having an easier life than Vladek's own.

Artie admits that he's spent a large chunk of his life quarreling with his father--indeed, he chose to become an artist because his father couldn't compete with him there. The passage is important in that it reinforces the tension between father and son, a tension that Artie is trying to alleviate by writing a book about his father's experiences. Spiegelman doesn't excuse or condone his father's behavior--being a Holocaust survivor doesn't make you a saint, or even a good father. Rather, he uses his comic book to show Vladek (and himself!) in all his strengths and weaknesses.

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Part 2, Chapter 1 Quotes

I never felt guilty about Richieu. But I did have nightmares about S.S. men coming into my class and dragging all us Jewish kids away. Don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t obsessed with this stuff … It’s just that sometimes I’d fantasize Zyklon B coming out of our shower instead of water. I know this is insane, but I somehow wish I had been in Auschwitz with my parents so I could really know what they lived through! … I guess it’s some kind of guilt about having had an easier life than they did.

Related Characters: Arthur (Artie) Spiegelman (speaker), Anja (Anna) Spiegelman , Françoise Mouly , Richieu
Page Number: II.16
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Artie tries to come to terms with his own guilt concerning the Holocaust. He tells his wife, Francoise, that he sometimes wishes he’d been a part of the Holocaust. Furthermore, he continues to think about his dead brother, Richieu—although he claims not to feel any survivor’s guilt, it’s clear enough that he does.

In short, Artie feels guilty that he's alive and his brother, Richieu, is dead: growing up, Artie sometimes felt that he was competing with Richieu (who died long before Artie was born) for his parents' love. Artie senses that there's always going to be a gap between himself and his parents: because his parents went through the horrors of the Holocaust, they'll never be able to understand Artie's "normal," trivial life.

Spiegelman doesn't reveal if Artie is right to point to a gap between his own life and those of his parents. Of course Anja and Vladek have had hard lives--but that doesn't necessarily mean that they're unable to love Artie fully (although this does help explain some of Artie's troubles with Vladek and his constant criticisms). Spiegelman implies that Artie is just burdened with guilt--even though his parents really do seem to love him, he feels a perverse desire to go through the Holocaust so that he can be truly close to them. 

Part 2, Chapter 2 Quotes

Vladek died of congestive heart failure on August 18, 1982 … Françoise and I stayed with him in the Catskills back in August 1979. Vladek started working as a tinman in Auschwitz in the spring of 1944 … I started working on this page at the very end of February 1987. In May 1987 Françoise and I are expecting a baby … Between May 16, 1944 and May 24, 1944, over 100,000 Hungarian Jews were gassed in Auschwitz.

Related Characters: Arthur (Artie) Spiegelman (speaker), Vladek Spiegelman , Françoise Mouly , Nadja Mouly Spiegelman
Page Number: II.41
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Artie contrasts his own work as a writer with his father’s life and work. But he does much more: he compares his life with the lives of his ancestors, including the millions of Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust.

It’s imperative that Artie keep the Holocaust “in perspective” as he proceeds to write a book about it. The Holocaust is a tragedy almost beyond the comprehension of any individual person. Artie’s book isn’t just about the Holocaust—it’s about his struggle to try to understand the Holocaust. Artie talks to his father about his (father’s) experiences, but even here, mere words can’t convey the full extent of the tragedy to Artie. In the end, Artie’s experience writing his book is a sobering experience. His own petty acts of creation—the book, the baby, the marriage—pale in comparison with the single act of destruction that took place in Europe during World War II. There is simply no decent way to write a book about the Holocaust that doesn’t involve the acceptance that one’s book is neither a solution nor a comprehensive response to the Holocaust.

Part 2, Chapter 3 Quotes

Vladek: What happened on you, Françoise? You went crazy, or what?! I had the whole time to watch out that this shvartser doesn’t steal us the groceries from the back seat!

Françoise: What?! That’s outrageous! How can you, of all people, be such a racist! You talk about blacks the way the Nazis talked about Jews!

Vladek: Ach! I thought really you are more smart than this, Françoise … It’s not even to compare, the shvartsers and the Jews!

Related Characters: Vladek Spiegelman (speaker), Françoise Mouly (speaker)
Page Number: II.99
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Vladek is driving in a car with Francoise. Francoise picks up a black hitchhiker--much to Vladek's distress. Vladek is sure that the man is a criminal or a thief of some kind. Later, Francoise calls out Vladek for his obvious racism--how is it possible, she asks him, that a victim of Fascist anti-Semitism could despise black people so completely? Vladek simply replies that blacks and Jews are nothing alike.

The passage confirms a troubling truth: just because someone endured a lot of pain and suffering does mean that they've become a kinder, more tolerant person. Vladek suffers through the Holocaust--the ultimate tragedy caused by racism--and yet he unironically perpetuates racism toward black people, confident that Jews are better than blacks (just as the Nazis were sure that Aryans were superior to Jews). Artie's challenge in Maus is that he has to learn to empathize with his father's enormous suffering while also recognizing that, in many ways, his father isn't a particularly good man.

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Françoise Mouly Character Timeline in Maus

The timeline below shows where the character Françoise Mouly appears in Maus. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 5
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Artie is lying in bed with his wife, Françoise, when the telephone rings. Mala is on the other line, yelling in frustration. Vladek climbed... (full context)
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Guilt, Anger, and Redemption Theme Icon
As he makes their coffee, Artie tells Françoise he has always hated helping Vladek around the house – he was overbearing and critical... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 1
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
It is summer. Artie and Françoise are vacationing with friends in Vermont. Artie is doodling outside, trying to decide how to... (full context)
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Guilt, Anger, and Redemption Theme Icon
Artie and Françoise’s friends run out of the house in a panic. Vladek just called, one of them... (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
Guilt, Anger, and Redemption Theme Icon
Reluctantly, Artie and Françoise get into their car and head for the Catskills. As they drive, Artie begins to... (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Guilt, Anger, and Redemption Theme Icon
...B (the deadly chemical used in gas chambers) coming out of the shower. He tells Françoise that he wishes he had been in Auschwitz with his parents, so he could understand... (full context)
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Guilt, Anger, and Redemption Theme Icon
It is late when Artie and Françoise arrive at Vladek’s bungalow in the Catskills. Vladek has been waiting up for them. He... (full context)
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Guilt, Anger, and Redemption Theme Icon
The next morning, a little before 8 a.m., Vladek bursts into the bedroom where Françoise and Artie are sleeping. He opens the curtains and rouses Artie, who fumbles to get... (full context)
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Guilt, Anger, and Redemption Theme Icon
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
Françoise appears in the kitchen, yawning. Artie lights a cigarette, and Vladek berates him for using... (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Artie hears Françoise calling his name, and leaves Mr. and Mrs. Karp’s house as quickly as he can.... (full context)
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
Guilt, Anger, and Redemption Theme Icon
...Artie insists that the error is unimportant, which prompts Vladek to accuse him of laziness. Françoise urges Vladek and Artie to take a walk and let her fix the mistake. (full context)
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Guilt, Anger, and Redemption Theme Icon
...do now that Mala is gone. Vladek says he will go home when Artie and Françoise do – he has no reason to stay in the Catskills alone – and suggests that... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 2
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
Guilt, Anger, and Redemption Theme Icon
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
...reading in February 1987. In May 1987 – some time in the near future – Françoise is expected to give birth to their child. Over the course of nine days in... (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
...month doing black work, and two more as a tinsmith just before leaving the camp. Françoise greets Artie and Vladek in the front yard, telling them she has finished with the... (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
That night, after Vladek is asleep, Artie and Françoise sit on the porch and talk. Staying with Vladek has left them exhausted, and Artie... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 3
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Guilt, Anger, and Redemption Theme Icon
...left behind and buy groceries for the week. When Artie reminds Vladek that he and Françoise are only planning to stay for another day or so, Vladek grumbles that it would... (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Vladek, Artie, and Françoise arrive at the supermarket. Vladek intends to return the half-empty boxes of cereal and other... (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
As they drive back to the bungalow, Vladek tells Artie and Françoise about Dachau – a place he describes as being much more miserable and dangerous than... (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
Françoise spots a hitchhiker – a black man – by the side of the road. She... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 4
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
...want to go to a retirement home, or hire a live-in nurse. He still wants Françoise and Artie to move in with him, but Artie insists, as he has from the... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 5
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Guilt, Anger, and Redemption Theme Icon
...the part of the story when Tosha poisons herself, Richieu, and the other children – when Françoise comes in to offer him a cup of coffee. Artie remarks on his frustration with... (full context)
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
...problem-plagued flight from Florida, Vladek, Artie, and Mala arrive at the airport in New York. Françoise takes Mala home, while Artie takes Vladek to the hospital. The doctors run extensive tests... (full context)