Persepolis is a book written by Marjane satrapi in a comic way whereby she talks about her childhood life up to her early adult stage. Marjane satrapi was born in Rasht in Italy. She was brought up in Tehran. She was motivated to write this book when she was at Lycee Françoise School. While here, she witnessed the oppression towards civil liberties and the daily results of Iranian politics. Marjane wrote the book in Iran within the period of Islamic revolution which is during the year 1979 (January 66). The revolution included the government being overthrown, rise of war with Iraq who is their neighbor as well as introduction of theocracy. The book gain enormous popularity among people immediately after its release. Its cover page was drawn in black and white color. Due to high demand among the people, it called for the importance of translating the book into various languages. Persepolis novel explores the author’s kind of life during her early years while in Iran. From the books cover, the author tries to convey the bewilderment feeling. Bewilderment from wearing a veil at ten years and bewilderment from first love too. Most of the writer’s friends and family members are lost to the political instabilities of Iran. This left her being separated from her family but she still considers herself as a lucky one. The entire satrapi’s autobiography is both timely and timeless. Her art is charming and minimal (Isbell 14).
The main objective as to why Marjane wrote this novel was to express the effects of cultural change through the use of a Childs’ eyes. However, some other themes like nationality, relationship, child innocence, change, social class, education, gender, war and religion are also discussed here. From the themes, we get to know that one should be proud of their country, their history and culture as well. About relating to one another, the author says that we ought to try to make them good since they can never be good by themselves. The innocence of child protects us from the horrors of the world as well. Acceptance of the changes that we are powerless against is also an issue that Marjane tries to portray. She again shows that education sets us free from ignorance and sheds light on our eyes. She urges people to continue learning for brighter future days. Each and every person within the society is equal to the other though not many people who can accept this. On war, the author says that it brings down innocent lives and symbolizes all bad things in the whole world. Wars involve even the innocent and lead to mass destruction. The author gives out her story so as to give a word of warning to people on how to live in peace (Satrapi 23).
Marjane is depicted as the main character within the whole setting of the book. She is portrayed as strong girl who also strongly believes that one should fearlessly fight for what he believes in. the Persepolis novel is a political, historical and mainly of a girls’ story who gradually grows from childhood to maturity. She remains to be a very strong disciple of her traditions and beliefs despite having mingled with American people. In her novel, Marjane tries to portray the theme of tension between the past and present. All through the book, the author has a feeling related to tension about the big and glorious Persian Empire and the Iran filled with violence and problems. In the novels first part, she identifies herself with the past famous prophets at Zarathustra. She considers her own self as a symbol of love and tolerance. This turns out to the unexpected when the Iran- Iraq war strikes. The novel talks about the stern beliefs of the past having been threatened by the current political instability (Satrapi 40).
Marjane uses story reading as the format of expressing his issues. Storytelling is considered as the most known format that helps in enhancing language learning more so in children. Since the story revolves around the childhood life of Marjane. It also helps in impacting literal skills on the readers of the work. It is also a good way of promoting vocabulary growth, knowledge on how to handle books and also fostering communication opportunities since it allows for the discussion of illustration (Amuzegar 27). Memory has been exemplarily portrayed in Marjane story writing. Memory is what helps story the writer to communicate stories either from the present or from the past. The processing of the memory triggers memories about how she used to do during her childhood whereby she even recalls how they were made to put on veils and how she separated from her family due to chaos in their homeland. Human beings have two kinds of memory within them. These are the implicit and explicit memories. Due to memory, she brings out the issue of Bildungsroman whereby Marjane goes through heavy moral transformation and self-actualization. For ones writing to qualify as bildungsroman, there must be seen the progressing from childhood to adulthood, depart from their home to undergo a journey and also transform to a more mature understanding of his or herself. Satrapi undergoes all this as she writes in the perspollis. She starts her story while she is still a young girl and ends it when she is independent and grown up. She was forced to flee away from Iran due to war and this shows the beginning of a journey from home to a foreign land (Health 125).
Among the facts that prompted Marjane to write her story is the issue of the difference in the social classes of the humans. Different people were treated differently depending on their class within the Iran’s society. The author portrays Iran’s’ history as a nation that combines both wealthy and poor people at the same time. Marjane recalls when her father once drove a Cadillac. This kind of conflict is portrayed well whereby a maid to Marjane is forced to give up her lover to a neighbor due to the fact that their social classes were not compatible. Her husband tells this to their daughter. She again mentions how the children from the poor families were sent to wars while their age mates from the rich enjoyed themselves. Marjane considers this as injustice of high level and dislikes it. Memory takes Marjane back to Iran where along the streets; her parents are marching for a Marxist revolution (Health 40).
Fundamentalism in contrast to modernity has been brought out in a certain manner in the Persepolis. It became too hard for the Marxists and the socialist revolutionaries to achieve political power hence the revolution renders many under the great strain. Example of those subjected to this are the Satrapis. They consider themselves as modernized people. However, they tightly embrace western political and social beliefs as well. Fundamentalism in religion and ideology are said to be the main hindrances towards development in Iran. Among the reasons of writing of this book, Marjane points out that she wanted to magnify the perspective of a nation that is punished and persecuted by some extremists (Health 47).
Large percentage of the novels first part of the book sheds more light on the Islamic revolution witnessed within the country. This is the theme that connects all the rest and is the main contributor of all the other themes within the novel. It contributed towards Cultural Revolution and this led to the issue of the veil and violence as well as social classes. Revolution brought in the issue with the passport that defined that one could not be issued with a passport unless when terribly ill. This led to the death of Marji’s uncle since he could not be attendant to in Iran. The revolution brought along the wearing of veils at schools and also being secluded from the rest of the students who were not Islams. Memory takes Marjane back to her childhood ages whereby she sees herself being a prophet and remembers how God used to inspire her to stand against injustice and hatred. Later on, she is seen to be slowly abandoning her faith when she begins to criticize the political and social realities of Iran (Health 120).
It is very possible that Marjane wrote the book to express various issues with childhood. Through her own story, she lets the reader know of a young girl’s life and how one feels when undergoing life during war times. The problems within her entire life seem to have crept in immediately when she abandoned her Christian faith during her childhood. Loosing her family members due to wars, loosing her uncle Anoosh due to illness and being departed by her dear friend to United States are among the tragedies that crept her way. It calls for more than courage to handle this during childhood. Most of the children during her time were subjected under this state. Undergoing through wars and crisis, killings, protests and shedding of blood (Moaddel 55).
Marjane talks of her relationship with her nation and the whole world through the mention of her relation with her parents. She mentions her relation with her parents as being both smooth and filled with tension. She describes this as part of growth which all beings must pass through on their way to maturity. On the other side, she receives love and care from the same parents at other times. Marjane notices great tension when she compares her parent’s political stands with their actions. They uphold the belief that all people can never be equal within the society (Health 54).
Marjane tries to portray patriotism within the Perpollis. Marjane makes it clear to us that her and her family was strong patriots to their nation. The family is very much willing to go to the riots and protest without any complains. It is very well known that any kind of misfortune can take place in wars but they still insist on going. Only those who dearly love their country can afford to take such a step. Their patriotism extended and even took Marjane along with them despite her being so young. The family was even willing to let one of them die in the due course of defending their nation against the unsatisfactorily rule of Shah. With reference to what they believe in, they were even willing to be murdered or killed during their war (Quddus 50).
Marjane portrayed her suffering through the imperialism and Shah theme. According to her point of view, the entire Iran nation underwent suffering due to imperialism. The country’s resources were all exchanged for money to the western states by Shah. The money from these resources was used for selfish benefits for the Shah family and not for the whole nation as expected. All the citizens rise up to oppose this kind of leadership .this led to the kind of revolution whereby all women in Iran were made to put on veils even without their consent for the sole reason of avoiding rape and murder. She even recalls how her own mother was tortured by the fundamentalists when she tried to reject the new rule. The penalty suggested for those against the revolution was rape until death and then one would be thrown to a litter can. To diminish westernization, the Iranian government brought down a cinema hall claiming that it showed western movies which might end up impacting influence on the Iranians (Muhajiri 40).
Marjane has her writings bring out the fact that she went through traumatizing event on her way to survival. She escaped narrowly many kinds of crucial events on her way to seeing tomorrow. She had to adjust to various conditions even those which did not make her happy so as to buy her peace. She recalls how her mother was also forced by circumstances to wear the veil simply because she had been threatened and since she was a stern fighter of women’s’ rights. Marjane also remembers one time when she encountered verbal assaults and where she narrowly escaped kidnap due to the fact that she was badly dressed according to the Iranian culture (Moaddel 56).
Marjane takes the initial to define the different kinds of rebellions within our own society. She researches on the possible reasons paving way to this. Through the eyes of a little child, the author makes the reader see the whole progress of the Iranian nation. Through the way the writer grows from childhood to adult, she makes us see the various tribulations that affected the citizens of Iran. The readers get to know what took place during early times through the memories of Marjane. Out of Marjanes real life experiences, the readers are brought to the light about effects of the transformations in the cultures, religious and political states of the Iranians. It is memory that helps the writer recall the past events and ends up writing the story. Through the entire story, the writer poses out the things that never made her happy during life. Mainly, she talks of the revolution that made many citizens within the Iran nation shed tears in pain and agony. Bad rulings and poor security conditions are among the major threat that made the people feel unsecured in their country (Isbell 34).