(Im not good with delicate subjects like this one but I'll try my best to be less dismissive than I usually am)
1. How did historical events influence the ideas in the novel? What cultural issues may have influenced, challenged, or inspired the author?
I mean even for a person who didn't read the book they could kind of know what the book is based off. So yeah the book is about a holocaust survivor and all he had to do just to live one more day. So the big idea of the book is what he had to deal with like the people,food,shelter,safety and more.
How Vladek had to be careful and hide. How he had to be more protective about things. Like in page number 81 he even considered to hide his son, Richieu with a friend's friend. Which is pretty much a stranger. So yeah I think the fact that its during the holocaust influenced a lot of decisions for the character.
Probably something really challenging for the author was all the violence. I don't think writing this stuff is light. There are some pretty heavy stuff to think about like hiding you children, people being hanged and displayed for other peoples fear (page 83) Germans swinging kids through their legs and smashing them against walls in till they died (page 108) It's hard to read, I don't know about writing. Also that he needed someone perspective. Not just the information and write it down. He needed more like emotions. Because this isn't that situation were you can just make up a story with just the general perspective. I don't know maybe it was hard to write down all the fear and stuff.