Persepolis 1: The Story of a Childhood (Graphical elements ( Screen Shot…
Persepolis 1: The Story of a Childhood
The common practise of showing ‘opposition to the regime by letting a few strands of hair show’ is a verbal irony that shows the despair position of women, with their choice of exposing some hair becomes their remaining power under the extremist, male dominating society.
The description of ‘there were two kinds of women’ illustrates the clear segregation in the Iranian population, reinforced by the contrast of the black and white graphics used throughout the book, implying that there are only two sides of an argument with no grey areas allowed in between. This may be a reference to the Marji's struggle to balance between her faith and love for her country (where the fundamentalists enforce a different religion)
Illustrates a comparison between the Iranian ‘fundamentalist woman’ who supports the Islamic regime and one that protests against it
The black background reinforces the bleak atmosphere surrounding death and the inhumane tortures
This mental picture of the punishment comes from verbal description of adults, yet the child illustrates the person lying down with clearly cut body parts. This childish image of the man being separated like dolls portrays Marji’s innocence, thus finding it hard to wrap her head around the cruel sentence
Illustrates Marji’s imagination of a man being ‘cut to pieces’ as a punishment under the Islamic regime
How Marji ‘abandoned the dialectic materialism of my comic strip’ represents Marji’s wish to resume a normal childhood after the revolution, with the kind of innocence expected in children with little understanding about the societal and political conflicts of modern society
‘I didn’t know what justice was’ demonstrates how Marji still has questions regarding the political environment of Iran and the fundamentalist rules that were imposed on her, symbolising her struggle to understand the complex, violent nature of society.
The black background contrasts with the white appearance of the two, portraying a fantastical, surreal atmosphere. This contrasts with the internal conflicts of Marji implied in the text, showing how Marji successfully overcomes her psychological struggles by seeking refugee from faith
God’s pure white appearance blends in with Marji’s body, symbolising Marji devoting herself to God to find inner peace
Illustrates young Marji in God's embrace
Graphic showing two sides of Marji on P.6
Marji with a blank expression, mouth turning downwards --> implying oppression of the regime
The right side shows her in a veil with a patterned artistic background
Tangled vines --> illustrating the tangled thoughts, inner conflict of young Marji, not understanding why she is being forced to wear the veil
Islamic art --> shows the revitalisation of traditional ideas under the new Islamic, fundamentalist regime
The left side shows her in modern clothing with image of machineries, cogs behind her
Tools organised in a neat matter --> clarity of mind, juxtaposes the opposite image
Black and white graphics
Many contrasting themes of the graphic novel: male VS female; fundamentalism VS secularism
Connotation of the extreme spectrum of good and bad a lack of a ‘grey area’ which made room for debate --> restricting and controlling the government was at the time, giving little freedom to the people to choose their own moral beliefs
The individuality, freedom and the ‘colour’ (symbolising happiness) of people’s lives were taken away by the government
Linked to the abolishment of Western ideals in Iran, since Marji's image of God is a westernised one - white old man
Reinforced by Anoosh's death, which led her to believe that God is not supportive of her and questions his existence
With another religion pushed into her life and lack of enrichment from environment (ie. secular parents), the image of God starts to fade from her life
Marji sees it as her loss of innocence in this coming-of-age novel, 'with this first cigarette, I kissed childhood goodbye'
(voiceover) Now I was a grown up
Her personal life/identity is intertwined with politics
Coping mechanism - an adaptation to environmental stress that is based on conscious or unconscious choice and that enhances control over behavior or gives psychological comfort
Through this, Marji shows power and contributes to the rebellion in some way by seeing her mom as the fundamentalist government
Emanata of tears, onomatopoeia of 'KOFFF'
Continued her attempt despite 'it was awful, but this was not the moment to give in' --> resembling the actions of a martyr which she looks up to
Stolen from her uncle, smoked as a symbol of rebellion against her mom's 'dictatorship'
Plastic key painted in gold
Occured to Ms Nasrine's (maid in Marji's family) oldest son
Demonstrates social class divisions: educated, rich boys were not attempted to be persuaded this way, ignorance of the lower class
Religion as a tool to justify death and sacriface
Given to young boys claiming that it would lead them to heaven if they joined the fight in the war --> method of indoctrination
From Uncle Anoosh, made while he was imprisoned (as many other prisoners during this time were falsely accused)
Symbol of hope and transformation
Story of the ugly duckling metamorphosing into a swan, accomplishing dreams
Making something good out of something bad --> finding the good --> maintaining hope
Ability to maintain humanity in a dreadful situation
Students sitting similar position i.e arms crossed, with veil and frown --> difficult to tell students apart --> take away sense of individuality amongst females
Repression particularly against women shows women’s inferior role in society
Concealing nature --> symbol of oppression through restricting individuality
Contrast to feminism that was previously encouraged by Western culture
Removal of previous Western influences, eg. miniskirts --> forbidden practise and enforced Islamic costume
Abuse, oppression and inequality. Power struggle
Secular schools and universities are shut down --> limiting people's freedom of receiving education, censoring information
Women are degraded and victimised. TV fundamentalist representative says women must wear veils so men are not distracted or excited by women on the street, i.e behaviour of men is at woman’s fault
Marjane cannot become a prophet or scientist as she is a woman --> outlines fundamentalist ideals and their ridiculousness
Marji was aware of her privileges and inequalities in society, her realisation was through literature that told stories about child labour, which brought great shame to her. 'I finally understood why I felt ashamed to sit in my father's cadillac'
Marji's family was relatively well off, her parents were educated. They believed in the power of education thus sent Marji to a French language school
The neighbor quickly abandoned his relationship with Mehri when he realised she is not Marji's sister but her maid. Marji's dad told Marji that 'their love was impossible... because in this country you must stay within your own social class'
Women are reduced to simply being child-bearers and repress any other dreams and abilities they might have e.g link to forcing women to wear veil
The two scenarios above concern Marji's maid, which come from a lower social class, showing that objectification of women is even more apparent in a part of society that Marji does not frequently come in contact with. Suggest that there was even more gender inequality but were not experienced by Marji as she comes from a educated family receiving a Western education
Women are 'used' as a tool to lure boys into being soldier for the country
To a certain extent, women are belittled and objectified, Ms Nasrine's son pointing at Marji, directly stating 'I'll marry her' --> superiority of men is deeply engrained and apparent in children
With her maid at home - Mehri
Marji was supportive towards her relationship and wrote letters for her every week
Despite their friendship, Marji is superior to Mehri, 'can you help me lace my shoes?'. Subconsciously, Marji is still conscious of their difference and see Mehri as inferior, 'like most peasants, she didn't know how to read and write'
Got along well despite their social class difference
'She was ten years old I was born... she took care of me', 'she played with me', 'and she always finished my food'
Fantasy and reality, escapism
Extorting them back into reality
Multiple bombings that woke Marji, caused power outrage during a party
Marji's mother being insulted for not wearing the veil
Marji's family rebellion against fundamentalist ideals
Marji's mom refusing to wear the veil (in the beginning) and the whole family attending protests
Hold illegal parties and drink wine despite the chance of being prosecuted, in fact they were close to being arrested for a few times
Marji's rebellion against fundamentalist ideals
Reinforced by Marji's stubborn, outspoken, strong-willed personality
Following Western trends, eg. music, celebrities (Kim Wilde, Michael Jackson)
Confronting teachers about female's oppression, ie. wearing of the veil
Loss of innocence
Lost her imagined interactions with God, see symbolism: God
Increased hatred and rebellion towards the government
Due to the political instability and deaths in Marji's life, she is forced to witness the curel reality at a young age and grow up
See symbolism: cigarette
As the world around Marjane becomes uglier and uglier, and as she comes to understand that it is a result of the hardline religious leaders who now run the Islamic Republic, she begins to move herself away emotionally from God, and she finally banishes him from her life after she sees Anoosh in jail and knows he will soon be executed
Westernised image of a white man with beard
Source of support for Satrapi in beginning of novel and shows her down-spiralling belief in God and religion
Marji sees him as a hero and often brags off to his friends with Annosh's experience. Often compare Marji's dad regarding their nationalistic beliefs
After revolutionaries take power, he is arrested again --> gives Marji the bread swan --> is executed
Fled to USSR after Fereydoon caught and executed for opposing Shah --> returns to Iran disguised but gets imprisoned
'What my wife made me suffer was worse'
Did not particularly see his political actions as noble but instead value family more
Made two bread swans for Marji
Patiently tells Marji about his experiences despite how tired he was
Important quotes (see Marji's mom: important quotes)
'You must understand that their love was impossible…because in this country you must stay within your own social class'
'If hair is as stimulating as you say, then you need to shave your moustache!'
When the teacher questioned if him and Marji's mom if they are worried of Marji wanting to be a prophet, answered 'No, not at all'
Told Marji's mom, 'don't worry darling' after a photo of her protesting has been distributed worldwide
Told his family to pour wine into the toilet and tried to buy time for them by making excuses with the fundamentalist
Marjane and Mehri were slapped by Marjane’s mother, this developed a barrier in their relationship --> foreshadows Marji's rebellion and reference to her mom's 'torture' and 'dictatorship'
'Anyway It is not for you and me to do justice. I’d even say we have to learn to forgive.'
Perhaps hint that her belief has been changing throughout the course of the revolution and war
Contradicting, highlights the theme of conflict
'Bad people are dangerous but forgiving them is too'
'The real Islamic invasion has come from our own government'
Clearly aware of limits of the situation, covered up herself to avoid consequences from being recognised by the fundamentalist when a picture of her protesting was broadcasted
Improvises and hides Marji's poster in her husband's coat
Praised Marji for standing up against the rules, encouraged her to accept Western ideals --> prevented her daughter from losing individuality
'To die a martyr is to inject blood into the veins of society'
'I wanted to be an educated, liberated woman…and so another dream went up in smoke'
'My father was not a hero, my mother wanted to kill people…so I went out to play in the street'
'I really didn’t know what to think about the veil. Deep down I
was very religious but as a family we were very modern and
Realises the injustice and other's pain
'I wanted to be a prophet because our maid did not eat with us. Because my father had a Cadillac. And, above all, because my Grandmother’s knees always ached.'
About the book
Published in 2000
'One can forgive but one should never forget', forgiving was a repeating theme in the novel as illustrated by her mom
Relating to previous P2 essay Q: debate whether it is considered a 'literary work' because of its contemporary medium
Can show childish aspect of how she had to grow up with this strict regime during her childhood
Deeper connection with readers through sentimental visuals, transcend language barriers
Was written in French, translated into English
Portray her life as a child and growing up, showing the effects of the regime on her identity
Subvert stereotypes, show the other perspective different from the one portrayed in the Western world. Even though there were extremists from the Islamic revolution, they do not represent the whole population
Give a voice to those who had dedicated their lives/died/suffered during the time of the regime, eg. Annosh which Marjane greatly respected. Marjane does not want them to be forgiven
To be specific, Persepolis is a Bildungsroman - a literary genre that focuses on the psychological and moral growth of the protagonist from youth to adulthood (coming of age), in which character change is extremely important
Author - Marjane Satrapi
Not afraid to go against the monarchy, eg. Marji's mom refused to wear the veil and protested on the streets
From a wealthy, educated, avant grande family that follows Western ideals
Both her parents were politically active and supported Marxist causes against the monarchy of the last Shah
Grew up going to French language schools --> studied abroad in Austria --> returned in Iran after Iran and Iraq war
Born in 1969 in Iran and grew up in Tehran, the capital of Iran
Openly oppose Western influences, eg. Marji's parents had to smuggle Western singer's poster from Turkey
No alcohol and parties
If women do not follow the rules, she may be humiliated, prosecuted
Not allowed to wear makeup
Have to wear veils to be considered dressed properly. Have to cover most body parts, eg. hair, arms to avoid 'getting men excited'
Iran and Iraq war in 1980
Use of trenches, missiles, poison gas and human wave attacks. Backed by the West, including: USA
President of Iraq declared war on Iran
Why? Long running border disputes and fears of new Iranian government inspiring a Shia insurgence
Religious differences between Sunni Muslim (Iraqi government), Shiite Muslim (Iraqi population ) and Shi'ite Muslim (Iran government)
Islamic revolution in 1978-1979
After the revolution
Islamic, anti-Western, censoring regime. Rejecting capitalist ideas
Theocracy - a system of government in which priests rule in the name of God or a god.
Fundamentalist - a form of religion that upholds beliefs in the strict interpretation of the scriptures
Overthrowing the Shah
Overthrow was mainly led by a open critic of the Shah - Ayatollah Khomeini, who saw Shah as a puppet of the West
Ended 2500 years of Persian Empire
During the revolution, Khomeini's influence grew and returned
Was sent into exile when Shah was still in power
Used secret police to silent any critics
Absolute monarchy, being in power for over 20 years had grown to be very unpopular among Iranians
Secular, westernised, censoring regime
Protest erupted in 1978 --> got violent and many died
Over the years, the revolution grew amongst Islamist and secular opposition grew against the Shah
Adoption of westernising policies heavily influenced by secular European ideals, people think that the Shah is attacking Islam and their culture
Wealth gap, royal family grew wealthy off oil reserves while money did not reach normal citizens
Allowed foreign investments
Created enemies in the predominantly Muslim population
This backfired and led to major oppression of women in the Republic of Iran --> veils and lowered status of female
Rise of feminism
Relevance to today