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Rajat Patel

on 4 October 2013

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Transcript of Persepolis

Role Models in Childhood
Marjane's childhood was one enveloped in constant struggle, dealing with themes of destruction, oppression, war, death, and ultimately, exile
Being the only one of Marjane's father's brothers she had never met before, Anoosh had come from a life of struggle and incarceration before meeting little Satrapi
Marjane's Parents
Marjane's parents are the most obvious role models, and arguably, the most influential people in her life
Having been beside Marjane her whole life, her parents have become major pillars, supporting her throughout her dreams and aspirations, and have consciously and subconciously been influencing her to be the person she becomes
A story of Influence
By: Rajat Patel
Through the hardships she faced, it was her role models and heroes that presented her with ideals and showed her not to stick with the status quo, and to stand up for your beliefs
Often in the most unexpected forms, and sometimes arriving from nowhere, these role models, some young, some old, some who have been around forever and some who are gone in the blink of an eye, have influenced Marajane through the strife of her childhood and helped her become who she is today
These role models include her uncle Anoosh, and her parents
In Russia, he got married and had two children, but not much is revealed about his family, except for the fact that a divorce and heartbreak have occured
Out of the fear that he would meet the same fate as Fereydoon, Anoosh decided to go into a self-imposed exile, choosing the U.S.S.R. as the region of choice
Things ultimately did not end well for his uncle, who had captured the attention of the Shah's soldiers and was arrested, then executed
This information was not met well with his father - a big supporter of the Shah - and was kicked out of his house
At age 18, he worked for his uncle Fereydoon to establish independence from the Shah in the Iranian province of Azerbaijan
Decides to come back to Iran, only to be captured and thrown into prison for a total of 9 years
Influence on Marjane
Throughout the short time that Anoosh was able to spend with Marjane, he has influenced her in many ways
His natural sense of optimism, lightheartedness, and steadfastness to his beliefs is something also shared by Satrapi
there is evidence of the impact he has had on her, years after his death
Anoosh is always optimistic, despite all the bad news constantly knocking at their door
the two frames spread out over two pages shows Anoosh's expression worsening. However, he never fails to say "Everything will be all right." He is constantly trying to retain his positive nature in the belief that one day the proletariat (the commoners) will rule
Living a very liberal and progressive life, they constantly exposed Marjane to a lifestyle different than the one defined by the Shah as well as the Islamic Revolution, being very active in the protests and demonstrations against both forms of oppressive governements
this had a very big influence on Satrapi as she adopted their burning desire to bring change to the country rather than idly sitting by and watching changes occur
the frame shown and the page that follows it express her longing and impatience to join her parents at the protests
this natural skepticism and innate sense of rebellion against what you are told evolves within Marjane throughout the story, as she begins to question the teachings at school, and her outbursts of rebellion against the revolution become increasingly public
her parents also take pride in being very educated about current events, as well as making sure they have all the facts right
her father will not believe anything he hears from simply spoken word, he constantly searches for confirmation from various news sources, his favourite being the BBC, coming from the radio
this series of frames depict Marjane in religion class, calling her teacher out on the lies she spouts about the revolution while revealing the truth to the class
the resounding applause resonating throughout the class is a result of the class' surprise, as no one else would attempt to tell off the teacher and accuse her of lying
this is further evidence of her parents' impact, as she is the only one who would have the resources to be aware of this knowledge, as well as the confidence needed to say it with such poise
In these panels, as Marjane is getting ready to go outside, she covers herself with multiple symbols of the Western culture, or decadence, as it is called by the revolution
the artist's depiction of herself, the nonchalant expression on her face, further proves how common it is for her to actively rebel against the rules of the revolution, and how it is only second nature for her
this commonality comes from her home, where there is constant talk and display of negativity towards the revolution
In these panels, her approach of rebellion against the regime is a more humorous one, as she publicly mocks the revolution at school, during the torture sessions, a time where one mourns the war dead by beating themselves on their breasts to the beat of funeral marches
this strategy of dealing with hardships through laughter is also something Marjane adopted from her parents, as they would often use partying as a way to stay cheerful during the war
Climax and Exile
As her acts of rebellion are become more public and more apparent than ever before, Marjane's parents realize that she isn't safe in Iran anymore
In the ultimate act of sacrifice, they make the decision to send her away, somewhere where she can continue to live her life and work at having a future better than the one awaiting her in Iran
This is the most influential decision for Marjane in the entirety of the book, as it has massive implications not explored in the book, but prevalent throughout her life, and which lead to her ultimately writing this memoir
He was the first person she ever considered a hero, referring to him as "my beloved"
Due to her extreme affection and admiration for Anoosh, the news of his capture and pending execution was a devastating blow on her
When Marjane first finds out about Anoosh's disappearance, her surprise and shock is depicted through a spiked bubble, hinting at the tone of disbelief in her voice
This sequence of frames occurs right after the previous panel, and the action to action transition shows just how attached she is to Anoosh and that she cannot drop the subject, despite her parents avoiding the subject and trying to distract her
Her face is visible in all three panels, showing how all her happiness has disappeared and her growing depression at his disappearance
By this time, she has deduced the fact that he has been taken by the revolution
As her father begins to come clean with the truth, her desperation turns to God, as the only thing she can do is pray for his well being
this is stressed further by the first image of him seen by the reader, resembling a god sent hero
This adoration that Marjane so dearly harbours for Anoosh is reciprocated, as shown when he is allowed to see only one person before his execution, and he chooses her
This page shows Marjane's last time seeing her "Beloved Anoosh"
The dark background of the prison cell dominates the colour scheme and adds to the foreboding feeling that something bad is about to happen
The action to action transitions act as a slow-motion sequence in a movie, as if Marjane, as the author as well the child, is trying to make this moment last as long as she possibly can
After his execution, Marjane is in a state of tragedy, and in her sorrow, lashes out at the only being that could have prevented the execution, but clearly failed to
drowning in her sorrow, and repeating Anoosh's self-assurance, she is visited by God
resentful and angry that he did not answer her previous prayers to save him, she lashes out at him
this escalates to her casting God out of her life forever
this is a huge event in her life, as before this, her life was very religious; she even believed she was God's last prophet, and would constantly engage in conversation with him
with this new change, she said goodbye to a substantial part of a childhood
With the loss of her role model, Marjane was lost. Without any bearings, she was floating in space, confused, dazed, and the like. She needed an anchor, one to pull her back to Earth and help her get over the tragedy. Luckily, they were there all along.
Culture and Rebellion
In the book, the idea of not forgetting who you are is a prevalent one
Throughout her life, Marjane's heroes have helped mold her into the person she is at the end of the book. Forgetting who you are is to forget the sacrifices and struggles that others have made for you. That is the message being conveyed by her parents a few nights leading up to her departure.
It can even be said that perhaps her role models hoped that one day she would become one herself, and that they were training her to be the best person she can be. They have done their best to carve a path for her, but have handed off the baton to Marjane to carve her own path, in hopes that one day she would do the same.
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