Marjane Satrapi's 'Persepolis': A Personal Version and Vision of the Iranian Revolution
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Persepolis: Marjane Satrapi's personal version and vision of the Iranian Revolution
Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis is a graphic novel that suggests that there is a sharp discrepancy between the world of the Iranian Revolution, as depicted in the Western media, versus how many Iranians experienced it in the context of their own lives. Satrapi was the product of a liberal home environment. Behind closed doors, the life the young Marjane led was often very different from the images of burka-wearing, angry militants that were popular in the news, particularly in America during the 1970s and 1980s. The novel, based on Satrapi's life, was originally published in French, rather than Farsi, reflecting the international nature of Satrapi's upbringing.
When the book opens, Iran is still under the control of the Shah, a brutal, hereditary dictator. The father of the current leader had tortured and harassed the young Marjane's family for several generations; his son was even worse. This is an important lesson for Western readers given that the United States supported the Shah of Iran for his anti-communist stance. The Shah was cruel to his people, which caused many Iranians to turn to seek out radical ideology, including communist ideology amongst the leftist, educated elite, and fundamentalist religious ideology amongst the common populace and conservatives. This suggests that the Iranian Revolution was not a war of good versus evil, or liberation versus oppression. The Shah, in the