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Religion, War and Oppression: A Semiotic Analysis of Persepolis

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Josh Bradshaw

on 3 May 2016

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Transcript of Religion, War and Oppression: A Semiotic Analysis of Persepolis

Research Questions
1) What signs are present in this novel that are supported by related themes?
Semiotic Analysis
2) How did Marjane Satrapi dispel or reinforce U.S. perceptions of Iranian culture?
To analyze a personal narrative in graphic novel form using a semiotic perspective.
Visual elements
The study of symbols and meaning
A Semiotic Analysis of Oppression in the Graphic Novel,

By Josh Bradshaw
Graphic Novels
What is the difference between these?
Arthur Asa Berger Method
Feminist Criticism
Interrogates how oppression is created, resisted and deconstructed.
1) Choose and identify the artifact.
2) Isolate the sign(s).
3) Discern relative themes within the narrative that support the signs.
Framing the Analysis
Feminist Criticism will be used as a lens in this analysis.
Power differences?
Socially acceptable?
Adherence or deviation from social rules?
The analysis uncovered signs that were enforced by three prominent themes in the novel
1) Modernism vs. Fundamentalism
2) Groupthink
3) Female Empowerment
Who is being marginalized?
Modernism vs. Fundamentalism
Right half: ornate drawings and the hijab
Left half: cogs and educational tools
Children are being sent to war.
This panel took half a page.
All the children held "golden" keys.
Key to heaven (plastic painted gold)
promise of a better life
Female Empowerment
Mother looks like a rebel leader
Her mother was not afraid to stand up for change
This research suggests that the signs were supported by related themes.
3) Was the graphic novel an effective medium for Strapi's narrative?
Religion, War and Oppression
Textual cues
The lack of features on the dying children.
Just another number, not a person
Expendable; dehumanized
Education and religion are separated
Highlights the country's inability to bring the two together.
Separation of power
Her face lacked empathy, and was replaced w/ determination.
Peace or violence will incur change
4) Determine whether the medium being used affects the text, and how.
Stereotype regarding Iranian culture
Stereotype regarding Middle Eastern women being weak-minded
Stereotype regarding Fundamentalist use of brainwashing and violence.
She addressed three stereotypes regarding Iranian Culture: religious extremism, brainwashing and use of violence by Fundamentalists, and women are weak-minded.
The graphic novel is an excellent medium for this narrative. The pictures and words enforced the messages that were incorporated into the novel. It also helped her capture the reader's attention by capturing multiple senses at once.
RQ1:What signs were supported by themes in the graphic novel?
Each prominent image shown in this presentation stood out in my analysis.
RQ2: How did Satrapi dispel or reinforce US perceptions of Iranian culture?
RQ3: Was the graphic novel a good medium for this narrative?
Works Cited
Fletcher-Spear, Kristin Fletcher-Spear, Merideth Jenson-Benjamin, and Teresa Copeland. "The Truth about Graphic Novels: A Format, Not a Genre."
Virgina Tech Digital Library and Archives
The ALAN Review
, 2005. Web. 4 Nov. 2015.
Satrapi, Marjane.
. New York, NY: Pantheon, 2003. Print.
Foss, Sonja K. "Feminist Criticism." Rhetorical Criticism: Exploration & Practice. 2nd ed. Prospect Heights: Waveland, 1989. 165-225. Print.
Saussure, Ferdinand de. Course in General Linguistics. Trans. Baskin Wade. London: Fontana/Collins [1916] 1974
Short, Jeremy C., and Terrie C. Reeves. "The Graphic Novel: A "Cool" Format for Communicating to Generation Y." Business Communication Quarterly 72.4 (2009): 414- 430. Communication & Mass Media Complete. Web. 24 Oct. 2015
McCloud, Scott. "The Vocabulary of Comics." Understanidng Comics: The Invisible Art. New York: HarperCollins, 1993. 24-60. Print.
Connors, Sean P. "Toward a Shared Vocabulary for Visual Analysis: An Analytic Toolkit for Deconstructing The Visual Design of Graphic Novels." Journal of Visual Literacy 31.1 (2012): 71-91. Communication & Mass Media Complete. Web. 17 Oct. 2015.
Conclusion & Implications
Graphic novels are a unique medium for the development of meaning, especially personal narratives.
The focus was only on one part of the two-part novel.
I was developing my conclusions from one source, Marjane Satrapi.
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