Persepolis: A Tragic Story

BY: ashtontinney93

Before I began reading Persepolis I needed to look up what Persepolis meant and found that Persepolis is a city in Persia, which is now known as Iran. Knowing the title of the book it was safe to assume that this was going to be about Iran. I then read the inside cover and discovered the author, Marjane Satrapi, wrote this as an autobiographical comic about what it was like to grow up during the Iranian Revolution. As I was reading this comic I couldn’t help but admire how an autobiography was written in comic form. The use of drawings really helped understand the feeling of not only what the author was experiencing but also what other people she knew were feeling by the use of expression in her drawings. If this was written in novel form you couldn’t fully imagine the expressions and feelings of the characters.

While reading her comic, I was surprised at how much I didn’t know about the Iranian Revolution. Of course I only knew what I was told from the American’s point of view but I didn’t know what it was like for the Iranians. Her comic shows what both sides felt of the Revolution after the Shah left. Marjane is influenced by the thoughts of her family, and also by what her friend’s parents say. As a little girl she is conflicted by the changes in her society and her culture and it affected her childhood. As a religious family she would always turn to God and believed she is a Prophet, in fact, she says, “At age six I was already sure I was the last Prophet. This was a few years before the Revolution” (6). As her story continues she meets her Uncle Anoosh and becomes enamored by him and his stories. As the revolution continues she finds out that he was found by the police and executed. She becomes angry at God and tells him to get out of her life and then says, “And so I was lost, without any bearings… What could be worse than that?” then at the bottom of the page it says, “It was the beginning of the war” (71). The use of words and images really won me over with sympathy. Her childhood was lost as soon as the war began.

Satrapi, Marjane. The Complete Persepolis. United States Of America: Pantheon Books, 2004. 6-71. Print.


7 thoughts on “Persepolis: A Tragic Story

  1. I thought that it was really smart of you to procure some background information on the book before you started reading. Not only does this provide you with additional knowledge that guides you where the book takes place and from what point of view it’s written from, but it gives you an exposition on the characters of the book. I was also surprised at how an autobiographical comic could portray her life so much more effectively than a novel would have. The emotional discharge of the characters in the book was almost palpable from the images that were shown from panel to panel. This just exemplifies how useful comics are in terms of illustrating stories that are not merely inane or for adolescents. While reading Persepolis, I actually felt a lot of sympathy for Marjane. Even as a little girl, she was privy to all of the turmoil and the turbulence that had existed in Iran. With the conglomerated effects of the Iranian Revolution and bomb threats by Iraq, it is still shocking as to how she was able to compose herself and still uphold her innate morals. This is especially admirable because throughout the first half of Persepolis, there was never an instance where Marjane gave into conformity and assimilated herself into the culture of the conservationists. Through thick and thin, she stood by her ideals and made a bold statement by flaunting her 1984 Nike sneakers, Michael Jackson pendant, and denim jacket.

  2. It is truly fascinating how Satrapi wrote this autobiography in such a way. This just goes to show that comics are more than just a bunch of pictures; they can easily tell a unique story and have the ability really elaborate on someone’s life. You and I, both, learned a lot from The Complete Persepolis. I had learned briefly about the Iranian Revolution, but never knew what it was like growing up there during those hard times and how tragic and bearing it really was. I can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like growing up during a war, let alone a revolution. The story of Marjane has really opened my eyes. We are pretty blessed here in the United States. Even Marjane thinks so. We are all extremely fortunate and we should never take what we have for granted.

  3. I agree with you. I never realized how amazing comics really are. Just how you say that the use of words and images won you over with sympathy I definitely relate. I have never been that interested into comics I use to enjoy the ones that would appear on the newspaper but that was it. A couple of friend encouraged me to read comics and I would just give them a glance and I would think to myself that comics were silly. Why read comics when you had books? I was ignorant and never really gave them a try until this summer. Reading Persepolis has opened my eyes. Persepolis is such an easy read and it’s very educational. I’m a visual learner so reading through Persepolis makes me understand the story at a whole new level. I can feel the author’s feelings and the characters that surround her as well. I guess comics really are not as silly as I thought they have a good purpose.

  4. I also really enjoyed this; I honestly thought it was going to be a complete snore but it definitely wasn’t. I agree that the pictures really helped with the tone of the novel and it wouldn’t be the same without the pictures. I found her really inspiring and brave to go against things even though she knew of the trouble that could come to her. She would do some of the most prohibited things such as punching her teacher, wearing jewelry, listening to ‘punk music’, wearing Nike’s, and denim jackets. If ever in a position like that to where society was trying to control me I would want to be just like Marji and her family and not give in. When the war started her childhood was over and she let the reader know by showing her smoke that cigarette in the basement.
    I like that we are learning about another War/Revolution because we only ever learn about ours; other wars may have been mentioned but if America wasn’t involved in the war we didn’t really ‘learn’ about it. I love Marji’s personality (for the most part) like when she was a child and she wanted to be a prophet when she grew up. I also love the affection and gratitude she had to those who had made the tiniest of differences in the war/revolution even if at times she was jealous because she felt her family members weren’t heroes. Then she learned many were including her Uncle Anoosh; the bond that was created between them when she met a ‘Hero’ that was a part of her family was amazing. I know that losing her Uncle and many friends took a toll on Marji and I felt she might have grown a little angry which is completely understandable.

  5. I also really enjoyed Satrapi’s use of the comic book format to write an autobiography. This book was the first of its kind for me and I loved how easy of a read it was. You touched on my favorite aspects of the book as well, the expressions and feelings that were better displayed by drawings then they would have been in a sentence. It was a very good method to demonstrate characters as seen through the eyes of Marjane Satrapi. One example that I found very interesting was how the visuals (the faces of the characters) could contradict the points being made by the written text. This introduced a different type of humor that I don’t think written text on its own can duplicate. I completely agree that the book introduced a new side the story of the Iranian Revolution as well as overall conflict in the Middle East then I am used to hearing. She does a relatively good job of presenting the conflict as well as Western involvement in an unbiased manner that gave her a lot of credibility and didn’t put me in a corner. The main reason why I agree that the comic book form of this portrayal of life during the revolution was a great and unique method of presentation is the casual and fluid way that it allows you to observe trials in her life.

  6. Great blog! I loved how well she took the reality of what happened and illustrated it in her comics. I really did add the perfect visuals to properly express her story. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed learning about Iran and especially the war related sections. I do not always enjoy history, but she captured every part of me. Also, I have always been interested in the reason many cultures wear veils. She did a wonderful job making her audience sympathize with her. It’s a good reminder to check out why I do certain things and why I believe the way that I do. Satrapi inspired me to learn more about my own country and where I came from. I think there are amazing lessons to be learned from our pasts. However, I cannot imagine living a childhood such as hers. To feel so overwhelmed by the rules constantly changing for seemingly no real reason, but just because someone said so, would feel like torture. It’s so encouraging to hear triumphant stories such as hers.

  7. I absolutely agree with you Ashton and I enjoyed reading your blog. I really enjoyed reading Persepolis; it’s such a great comic. I love how you first found out what the word “Persepolis” meant. I have to say I didn’t do that at all, but now I am aware of its meaning. Marjane surely did have a fascinating childhood. Yes she believed she was the last prophet and all though the first part of the book she keeps talking to God and tell him about how she feels. I also feel like she was quite a lonely kid growing up because she didn’t have a lot of friends or anyone to talk to about her feelings. All her family members are quite interesting; they all contribute to the book in different ways. Marjane enjoys learning new things about the war; she is definitely fascinated about everything that is going on around her. This was such a great comic book. All the images surely helped me visualize what was going on. I really enjoyed reading this comic.

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