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Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

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Anna Huang

on 15 March 2015

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Transcript of Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Marjane struggles to negotiate two different cultures, as she is unable to feel comfortable in Vienna and Iran. She feels stuck between two enrivonments and experiences an exilic condition. Dual consciousness and isolation occurs as a result of this, and Marjane has a hard time constructing an identity for herself.

"It feels familiar, yet it does not at the same time"

feels that he has the right to be French as a citizen of a French colony. However, he realizes that he can never be "french."
pointed at by a white child and called a "negro."
forever an outsider
Dual Consciousness and Isolationism as a result of Exilic Condition
Marjane feels the right to be in Iran as it is her homeland, yet she feels foreign and uncomfortable when returns from Vienna.
The city's landscape is completely changed
City of ghosts and martyrs
The street names are named after martyrs as shown in the corner. In the next panel the street signs transform into the ghosts of the martyrs
Burial ground for martyrs
skulls and bones drawn underneath the city
Isolation: she is alone in the city


Vina Nguyen
Karen Tseng
Anna Huang
(Coming of Age Story)
Satrapi argues that in order to develop one’s own beliefs and understanding of their world it requires separation from childhood.

In the first panel of page 193 Satrapi states that “The harder I tried to assimilate, the more I had the feeling that I was distancing myself form my culture, betraying my parents and my origins, that I was playing a game by somebody else’s rules.”
Marjane Satrapi
On page 197 when she confronts her peers she identifies that she is proud to be Iranian.

When she is separated from home Satrapi begins to understand her identity more and how she perceives herself among other people.
She also experience psychological growth when she is separated from home.

On page 182 she tries to comprehend the notion of contraceptives and sex
Discussion Question 1
Social Class
Through the difference in social classes Satrapi demonstrates the contradiction of ideas in society during the oppressive regime in Iran

On page 37 the difference in social class between the maid and the neighbor reveals how her father's actions does not coincide with his support for equality

The fact that their family has a maid shows a disparity between what they are fighting for and the realities of social class in the country
Due to Satrapi's higher social class she experiences more privileges than her lower social class counterparts

This difference in social class continue to highlight the contradictory ideas present in Iranian society

Privilege can be seen on page 76 and 77 where Satrapi's family is able to escape the demonstrations
Do you think Satrapi does a good job in making the graphic novel universal? In what ways can you relate to her experiences?
Here her family has the ability to escape from the violence of the demonstrations. They go to Spain and Italy for three weeks.

While they are fighting for their rights their actions conflict with what they believe in.

On page 76 when violence ensues Satrapi's father states "Every man for himself!"
(Pages 70-71)
After her Uncle Anoosh's death, Satrapi is depicted as being in a physical limbo, floating in space. This physical dislocation represents her emotional state. She is lost; religion, which served as the foundation of her values and beliefs, has failed her. God cannot provide her comfort; he was powerless to prevent her uncle's death.
In this panel, we can see that she is in a physical limbo, an intermediate and transitional stage where she starts developing an identity that is not grounded mainly in the spiritual.
She struggles with the meaning of faith and the religious structure that has shaped her "destiny" as a Prophet.

"The Golden Key"
All my life, I've been faithful to the religion. If it's come to this, well, I can't believe in anything anymore...
On page 100, Mrs. Nasrine recounts, "
They told him that in paradise there will be plenty of food, women and houses made of gold and diamonds
" (100).
The theocratic leaders used religion as a way to exploit gullible young children.
Religion and the concept of being faithful can be manipulated and be used to manipulate.
In this case, paradise and heaven were commodified.

Art Piece -"Mean Girls"
After returning to Iran, Marjane is unable to connect with her old friends
Her friends are unrecognizable, different hair color, very western looking
Cultural differences highlighted during conversation

compared to their appearances in the past
drawn similarly to Marjane, similar features, hair color
Dominant Media Representations

She tries to find a circle to join, tries to assimilate and conform.
Marjane is very against drugs, yet she pretends to be high with her friends.
The more she tries to assimilate, the more distant she felt from her own culture and beliefs.
"walking" away from her family's silhouette.
A graphic novel helps to present serious topics in a way that everyone can understand.
Art form and characteristics help connect to a universal audience
Not just a story about the third world or oriental east. This is a story about the entire world. Marjane refuses to make herself the "other," and highlight differences.
Repetition, Black and white, lack of specifics and deatil
Simplicity in art
Also a coming of age story about Cady navigating highschool
Cady pretends to not know Janis in order to fit in with the Plastics
She struggles in both social circles
Bridges gaps, and brings the 'self' closer to the 'other'
Ambiguous images allow us to identify relate, and empathize with the experiences that Marjane faces
Characters resemble each other, very simple features
Here, Marjane and Reza are turned into silhouettes
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Repetition: same panels
A different perspective on war as a struggle of media representations
Edward Said: "
Orientalism is a way of seeing that emphasizes, exaggerates, and distorts differences of Arab peoples and cultures as compared to that of Europe or the U.S. It often involves seeing Arab culture as exotic and backwards.
Connection to Franz Fanon's "Concerning Violence" and Charlie Hepdo's article on present-day Algerian turmoil and Franz Fanon
Same panel shown in two different countries and the same characters are drawn multiple times.
The panel on the left displays Iranian youth protesting the Shah. The panel on the right shows the students of Vienna protesting against its government.
Universal claim that, regardless of location, if people are oppressed, they will protest.
Both show cases in which the youth are rebelling
Different time, different cultures
Shows parallel & similarity
Commonality is literally shown with the repeating panels

Did you have to sacrifice any freedoms when moving to a new environment (new school, home, country)?

Discussion Question 3
Satrapi challenges Orientalist stereotypes in the novel. What are some prevalent stereotypes in the present day, and in what ways do these stereotypes oppress the people/groups they try to represent? What stereotypes have you been subjected to?
Discussion Question 2
Since Satrapi is from the middle class, do you think her perspective of Iran is useful in understanding the struggles of the Iranian people during the oppressive regime?
Discussion Question 4
Discussion Question 5
Do you think Marjane's coming of age is complete by the end of the novel?

Discussion Question 5

Do you see any political parallels between the US and Iran?
Art Piece -"Mean Girls"
Clothing as tool for oppression similar to the veil
The Plastics implement a dress code
Introduction: "Since [the Islamic Revolution], this old and great civilization has been discussed mostly in connection with fundamentalism, fanaticism, and terrorism....I believe that an entire nation should not be judged by the wrongdoings of a few extremists."
(Page 3)
(Page 322)
, Marjane Satrapi challenges the simplistic definition of war as being an event that is characterized by physical struggle and that is waged in the battlefield, and she argues that war is also the power struggle to create and disseminate certain representations and depictions.
Martyrs looming large and dominating the view of the city
Defining the "ideal citizen" through representations of martyrdom
Martyrdom and Death
(Page 99)
(Pages 250-251)
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