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The symbolic use of black and white in Persepolis

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omar nesnas

on 7 June 2014

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Transcript of The symbolic use of black and white in Persepolis

Persepolis: IOP
by: Omar Nesnas

Topic: The symbolic use of color in Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Therefore, the colors black and white are considered opposites
Persepolis
Moreover, the graphic novel, Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi, utilizes the colors, black and white, to represent opposing forces in the novel and further reveal and enhance the demonstration of concepts that pertain to the Cultural Revolution and ideology in Iran during that time period.

Black and White
Black: The color black is associated with elements of power and is a potent symbol of authority. Moreover, it is considered a dominant color, and usually represents darkness, and depression. Furthermore, this implies that this color evokes strong emotion
Freedom vs. Restrain
The concept of freedom and restrain is one of the concepts that the use of color, in Persepolis, represents. Moreover, of the many symbols that the colors black and white represent in this graphic novel, the color white symbolizes freedom, and the color black symbolizes restrain and oppression.
Example: Page 3
Example: pAGE 14
In the last panel on page fourteen, we see the islamic regime's army, dressed in black, beating down the resistors, dressed in white, that are trying to save the people inside the Rex Cinema. Furthermore, black in this panel is used to symbolize an oppressing and restraining force, and white is used to represent the call for freedom
Example: page 43
In this panel we see Marji's dad saying "Lets enjoy our new freedom." Moreover, the background is white, however the border of the picture is surrounded by an evil black figure. Furthermore, this implies that even though freedom might appear to be present, they will always be surrounded by a restraining and oppressive force. As a result, situational irony is present.
White: The color white is associated with neutrality and purity. Additionally, the color allows mental clarity and induces open-mindedness

In the first panel on page three, we see the utilization of the colors black and white to demonstrate the concept between freedom and restrain
In this panel wee see that the veil in the image is colored black, which symbolizes how Marji is restrained by having to wear this oppressive veil by force. Furthermore, the girls are restrained from making their own choices and being forced to wear the veil.
Fundamentalism vs. modernism
Additionally, the contrast of black and white in the graphic novel, Persepolis, is used to demonstrate the concept of fundamentalism versus the concept of modernism. Moreover, the color black is used to symbolize fundamentalism, and the color white is used to symbolize modernism.
Example: Page 5
In this panel we see that a contrast of black and white that stands out to the reader. Here we see that one side is portrayed wearing white, and the other wearing a black chadors. Moreover, we see that the group of women on the left are abiding by the rules of religion and are supporters of the 'veil', however the group of women on the right are calling for freedom and appear modern.
example: page 126
In this page, the backgrounds of all the panels are white. Moreover, Marji's 'traditional' family is dressed in black. Furthermore, in this chapter Marji asks her parents to buy her posters, a denim jacket, and chocolate. These items, compared to the traditionalism in Iran are considered modern. Therefore, the white backgrounds imply that this 'traditional' family is surrounded by this modern era.
Peace vs. violence
Moreover, the colors black and white, in Persepolis, are used to differentiate between peace and violence. Furthermore, the color black is associated with violence, and the color white is associated with peace, innocence, and purity.
example: page 114-15
Example: page 101
In the panel presented on the left we see the innocent, and peaceful children, that have been taken in by the oppressive government, dressed in white. However, after they have been trained by the military to go to war, in the panel on the right, we see them dressed in black, which symbolizes their transition from being peaceful to becoming violent
Belief vs. loss of belief
Furthermore, the contrast between the colors black and white is also used to demonstrate faith versus the loss of faith. Moreover, the color white is used to portray religion and belief, and the color black is used to portray the loss of belief.
Example: page 6
In the panels on page 6, the color white is more eminent in the backgrounds. Furthermore, Marji talks about how she was born with religion and her want to become a prophet. Marji's faith and belief is very strong here and therefore, the color white is more eminent. So, we can deduce that the color white, here, symbolizes the strength in faith.
Example: page 70
After the death of Marjane's beloved uncle Anoosh, Marjane questions religion and faith. Even when 'God' pays her a visit, she asks him to leave. Moreover, black is very eminent in the background implying Marjane's confusion and loss of faith. Additionally, the presence of 'God', appearing fully in white, is used to symbolize religion.
conclusion
In conclusion, the color white in the graphic novel, Persepolis. is used to symbolize freedom, modernism, peace, and religion. Furthermore, the color black, in Persepolis, is used to symbolize restrain, Fundamentalism, violence, and loss of belief. Additionally, the use of the colors black and white also symbolizes a coming of age near the end of the book.
the coming of age
The use of he colors black and white, in Persepolis, is also used to symbolize the transition from being a child to becoming an adult. Moreover, the color white is used to represent youth, and the color black is used to represent maturity and adulthood.
Example: page 149
Page 149 represents Marji's transition to maturity and adulthood. In the first panel Marji feels that she is not ready to leave her parents, and live in Vienna. Moreover, she is wearing white in the first panel, then in the following panels Marjane is wearing black. As a result, Marjane reveals her mature side and understands her parents' decision. Therefore, she prepares for a new lif. This symbolizes Marjanes coming of age, and consequently she now wears more black.
Example: Page 5
The use of he colors black and white, in Persepolis, is also used to symbolize the transition from being a child to becoming an adult. Moreover, the color white is used to represent youth, and the color black is used to represent maturity and adulthood.
Example: page 149
Page 149 represents Marji's transition to maturity and adulthood. In the first panel Marji feels that she is not ready to leave her parents, and live in Vienna. Moreover, she is wearing white in the first panel, then in the following panels Marjane is wearing black. As a result, Marjane reveals her mature side and understands her parents' decision. Therefore, she prepares for a new life.
“The combination of black and white always expresses extreme opposites. Symbolically, the ultimate connection is something that all humans can relate to as in the cover of night vs. the light of day." (Eisman)
In the first two panels presented on the left, we see the fundamentalists' violent nature. Moreover, they " refuse this imposed peace", and commence with acts of violence by attempting to "conquer" Karbala. Furthermore, they are dressed in black, which, here, symbolizes violence. Additionally, this concept is further demonstrated in the panel on page 116, which is the last picture presented on the left. In this panel, Marji is thinking of how all this violence could have been hindered and that millions of lives would have been saved. Furthermore, she is dressed in white (peace).
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