The graphic novel Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi is a political and personal account of a young girl’s growth to maturity. The novel serves as an autobiography of the author’s childhood in Tehren, Iran. It describes what it was like to grow up during the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the end of the Shah’s regime, and the war with Iraq. One of the most prominent themes in the novel is the clash between modernity and fundamentalism. The reader can observe this conflict through Iran's internal oppositions, the Satrapi’s modernity, and Marji’s western soci-political beliefs. This aspect of the novel is important because it shows the ideological diversity within Iran and the consequences faced by those in the opposition.
Iran’s conflict between modernism and fundamentalism can be seen in the novel’s focus on the political prisoners. Marji encounters various men that were incarcerated for holding extreme leftist views, including her uncle, and the consequences they faced. In the chapter “The Heroes” Marji is exposed to the various torture methods induced to make the prisoners betray others who shared their discontent. This can be seen when Marji’s father asks about Ahmadi and Siamk, the newly freed prisoner, tells them, “… Ahmadi was assassinated. As a member of the guerrillas, he suffered hell” (54). In making this comment, Ahmadi shows the intensity with which fierce opponents were persecuted. Additionally, the never ending arrests and deaths of these political opponents show the