“Persepolis” Themes

At the forefront, Marjane Satrapi’s biographical work, Persepolis, chronicles the Iranian revolution in the 1980s. However within the work, Satrapi’s incredible story centers on a few prevalent themes and motifs.

Child’s Perspective: Satrapi’s account of the Iranian revolution is told from a unique perspective. She narrates the story from her perspective as a child. She pairs her story with a hand-drawn visual supplement that is reminiscent of a children’s book.  Satrapi doesn’t avoid subjects, but her use of words and image are simplified the way a child would view events. When Satrapi explains the horrific torture that the prisoners of war experience she inserts a childlike perspective (page 51). One man was burnt with an iron, and Marjane is pictured looking at the iron her mom is using. The effect of this humanizes horrific events. Also it highlights the unnaturalness of torture by paralleling the intended function of an iron, with its domestic use. This child perspective appeals more to the emotions than political or logistic readers.

 Feminism: Satrapi’s assertion that she was merely retelling her life as she sees it, offers a very modern approach to feminism in literature. Marjane says “I wanted to be an educated, liberated woman.” (page 73).  As a child she does is not concerned with an oppressive role for women. She received positive encouragement from her mother who demanded: “She should start learning to defend her rights as a woman right now!” (page 76). Satrapi offers a feminist heroine as Marjane feels a need to participate in culture, have a prominent role in nation decision shaping.

 War-time time literature: This work is categorized in a non-fictional historical section. The narrative in Persepolis is structured by both Marjane’s biography and the political events in Iran. Thus the structure of the book is as fragmented as the revolution itself.

Resources To Gain A Further Understanding:

Persepolis as Embodied Performance
The article analyzes graphic novels “Persepolis 1” and “Persepolis 2,” by Marjane Satrapi as examples of unconventional solo theater performance. According to the author, the graphic novel allows presence both vocally and physically through repeated self-portraiture, which deals with distinctly corporeal issues of visibility, sexuality and identity. She mentions that graphic novels may best be understood as occupying a middle ground between the novel and the theater.

An In Depth Review
This is a review that goes in depth and covers all aspects of the novel’s themes and literary uses.

A Reawakening of Memories in Comic Form: Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
This article explores the uses of a graphic novel to tell the story of a memoir. It touches on the literary form and it’s uses as an example for Iranian women to tell their version of their history. The article also talks about the content and literary themes that the author of the article found important to mention within the Persepolis books. The author also talks about the various reactions the graphic novel generated.

Why I Loved Persepolis
A review from a feminist perspective from Feminist Music Geek.

War Told Through A Memoir


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