Adolescence is an age where children began to find themselves or, in some cases, lose themselves, an idea clearly developed by Satrapi in her graphic novel “Persepolis”. Satrapi explores the challenges and difficulties experienced by a sheltered and naive girl during the tumultuous and uncertain years of the Iranian revolution and attempts to solve the oppression she witnesses by the Islamicist government. This is important to the whole text as it identifies the religious conservatism and Islamisation of the state causes distress and confusion in Marjane who consequently had to redefine herself, given that her freedom and personal liberties were denied them in schools, public places, and even her own home.
Marjane Satrapi’s memoir Persepolis is considered a “coming of age” story based on her experiences growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. This graphic novel explores the life she lead in Tehran which encompassed the overthrow of the Shah’s regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution and the devastating effects of war with Iraq. Undergoing life with such a chaotic environment, it took Satrapi courage to act and live as her “authentic self” and explore what it meant to her to be authentic. Similar to Aristotle, May and Medinas Persepolis examines the concept of courage, through the view of innocence; through Satrapi’s childhood.
As Marji got older, it becomes more apparent that she was battling an inner conflict. When she spoke of her plans to her class of becoming a prophet, the children mocked her and the teacher called her parents in to say, “Your child is disturbed. She wants to become a prophet.” (8) Marji’s parents were a modern couple who fought against the new regime. Marji became conflicted when her parents asked her if she
Throughout the Iranian Revolution, many events and changes took place that largely affected the views of Iranians by other nations. The graphic novel, The Complete Persepolis, written by Marjane Satrapi (Satrapi, 2003), conveys many of these events and changes through the eyes of a child growing up in the 1980s in Iran. Satrapi’s main purpose for this book is to describe how the Iranian government was corrupt, causing foreign nations to have a tainted view of all Iranian citizens. The Complete Persepolis does so by presenting major events and changes in a manner that is directed towards audiences that are willing to have an open mind about ethnicity and false stereotypes, and an audience that is young and can relate to the “coming of age” aspect of this novel. By exhibiting a credible first hand account of how Satrapi and many others were affected by the events that took place during the Iranian Revolution, The Complete Persepolis can effectively persuade a reader to eliminate the “Islamic extremist” stereotype that the corrupt Islamic Republic gave all Iranian citizens.
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
(7). Her grandmother also buys her books to help educate her on what is going on in their country (28). Both of these actions display that her grandmother wants her to be educated and also wants Marji to do whatever she desires and teaches her that she truly can be whatever she wishes. Before Marji leaves to go to Austria, her grandmother tells her “always keep your dignity and be true to yourself” (150). This is something that continually goes through Marji’s mind as she begins to make mistakes, being true to herself is something Marji is constantly struggling for and becomes a major theme throughout the novel. In the end of the novel Marji learns how to be true to herself and her ambitions as she divorces Reza and moves to Paris, which was an action heavily based on the ethics and teachings of her grandmother.
Soon after the revolution, Iran became one bundle of chaos as the country began experiencing internal difficulties with the new republic. Then with the war between Iran and Iraq, violence became Marji’s daily lifestyle. The Iranians were left to themselves to protect their friends and family from the bombings and other types of violence happening in plain sight. Many unfortunate individuals lost their belongings as well as close friends and family. For example, a close friend of Marji’s mother, Mali and her family, lost her and her family’s belongings in a bombing. The family found refuge in Marji’s home until they left Iran for good. They were one of the few families who understood the severity of the violence overwhelming Iran.
When she sends Marjane away from Iran, she assures her: “I know how I brought you up. Above all, I trust your education” (147). Marjane’s mother doesn’t want her daughter to live in such an oppressive time. When the veils become mandatory, Marjane’s mother wishes to take her to an opposition demonstration: “She should start learning to defend her rights as a woman right now!” (76) In growing up with such strong female role models, Marjane learns to express her opinion and always stand by her beliefs. They taught her to stand up for herself as a woman, and in doing so, introduced her to a feminist perspective on life.
Another historical event that we see is the rise and effects of the Islamic regime in Marjane’s life. This event is arguably the central issue that affects Marjane during her upbringing in Iran. Marjane shows how the regime begins to control schools, and how this affects her life by separating her from her friends (4, 3-4). We also see how the regime decides to close universities as they “educate future imperialists.” (73, 1-3) This demonstrates the negative effects that the regime has on society, as they prioritize Islamic values over education. The Islamic leaders portrayal shows them as upset and bored, and are given much different facial expressions than those that Marjane sees as intellectual (such as Uncle Anoosh (54/3) or Marjane’s grandfather (23/8)). This imagery communicates the backwards-thinking of these leaders, and as such, also effectively communicate Marjane’s opinion of the leaders without needing to discuss it with text. Additionally, we see both of Marjane’s views: Marjane not understanding the veiling and separation (3/5) as well as Marjane’s depression over the closing of the universities (73/7). The text here illustrates her opinions on the situations that she experiences, and the imagery allows us to see a visual representation of her basic thoughts and emotions, which are well communicated. A final example of the regime’s changes is the difference between the fundamentalist and modern women
In The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, the genre choice of the graphic novel vividly portrays the life-experience that Satrapi herself gone through as a youth growing up in Iran back in the 1980s. Satrapi utilizes a unique drawing style to emphasize the influence that the Islamic Republic has brought to her. The recurring action of teachers implanting Islamic values in children throughout Marjane’s education in Iran is demonstrated through a set of related images, which implicitly reflect on the destruction of childhood that is caused by a totalitarian regime. For instance, the teachers force the girls to wear veils on page1 and tells the parents that “either [girls] obey the law, or [they are] expelled” (Satrapi, 98) later on. Also, the background of these images takes place where Iran is involved in both revolution and war; it contributes to children’ miserable situation even more.
Over the following four years, Marji learned of how her grandparents were left poor because of the Shah, the leader of the Iranian government. Shah was well known for robing men and women of everything they had worked for and leaving them with nothing. Nevertheless, Marji was schooled on the different levels of society in Iran, which left her to consider her family as rich because her Dad drove a Cadillac. Despite being a child, Marji accused her dad of being anti-social towards a class that could not read and write. To clarify Marji helped out a friend with the writing of some love letters. Mehi was the family maid that could not read or write. Mehi fell in love with the boy
A graphic novel consists of both a narrative and its accompanying illustrations, which are capable of providing insight through a collection of images. Marjane Satrapi’s autobiographical novel, Persepolis (2003), is a collection of her comic-strip memoirs, written and illustrated by Satrapi herself. Persepolis tells the story of Marjane’s growing up and coming of age in Iran’s capital, Tehran, during the Islamic Revolution. It is a story filled with noticeable moments, all of which are supported by the artwork Satrapi has decided to include. Further analysis of Satrapi’s artistic decisions reveals her choice to include symbols that often represent Marjane’s emotions. Objects such as mirrors and the use of body language in certain characters,
Marji’s hatred towards the new Islamic government due to the oppression her loved ones have had to endure, causes her to act out and rebel against the law. There are many instances of Marji’s defiance against the government and religion. One example of her rebellious nature is exemplified when she and her maid, Mehri, decide that “tomorrow [they] are going to demonstrate” (Satrapi, 38). She makes this decision after discovering the truth on social hierarchy and the government in Iran. She wants to support the Iranian citizens in fighting against the rules and religion to make Iran a free country again. Another example
The main character and also narrator of Persepolis was raised in Iran during the Islamic Revolution, the second Iran war as well as the Iraq war. The Islamic Revolution had a strong impact in regards to women’s rights, specifically the legislation which was meant to improve conditions for women, but unfortunately resulted in a setback. Marjane Satrapi chose to illustrate her story and enlightening experiences in a way I’ve never encountered before. Satrapi’s comic book style approach about this intense time period within history displayed a bit of foreshadowing. Throughout this essay, I will discuss how her unique style enhances the readers understanding as well as provide examples regarding the feminist approach within anthropology.
Taking place in the late 1970’s, Marjane Satrapi’s “Persepolis” exemplifies a profound illustration of the county of Iran, including aspects of its people and political structure. Unlike a conventional composed novel, the story of Persepolis is expressed through both textual and visual representation; otherwise known as a graphic novel. Through the experiences of the ten-year old character Marjane, the reader is exposed to historical events, movements, crises, and motives that occurred within Iran. Furthermore, the novel has gained much praise in its portrayal of emotions that occurred through the people of Iran. Although there has been tremendous support of the account of Marjane, there have been a few critics of the novel, attacking its overall literary value. For instance, New York’s Ithaca College student paper called The Ithacan, slammed the role Persepolis had on the literary society. In fact, they went as far to say that the novel “...is worth broaching but its literary value, in terms of building vocabulary and furthering comprehension, falls short.” An absurd statement, to say the least. Not only is Persepolis of literary value, it is a glimpse into the past. It allows the reader to understand the various conflicts that the people of Iran were facing. Through the account of Marjane, the audience is exposed to elements of Iranian history, gender roles, religion, and political fluctuation.