book review of Persepolis
?Book Review of Persepolis The Author of the novel, Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood, is Marjane Satrapi. The theme in Persepolis is to be aware of where you came from and the history of your family and also the culture that you live by. The subject is linked to the title of the book because; the word Persepolis is a noun, it means an ancient city, the subject to this novel is about how modern day people want to change the traditions of their older culture. The genre is a graphic novel, which is a novel with illustrations that go along with the words on the pages.
Graphic novels help the reader understand what he or she is reading by having pictures that go along with the reading. The book Persepolis, I thought, overall, was a good book. Graphic novels are easier for me to read because of the illustrations that the book provides. As a graphic novel, Persepolis enabled me to gain force because reading through the frames of images takes less time than reading multiple sentences on a page. So, Satrapi found ways to slow down the story to draw emphasis to important moments. Marji’s childhood is passing by, but unlike in many written texts, it feels as if a year goes by far more quickly.
Because it is a graphic form, Persepolis combines pictures and text to tell a story, so my reading time is combines both the time it takes to read the text and the time it takes to analyze the pictures. In addition, since the text and the pictures often tell two different stories, the sense of time in the story is further complicated. I also liked the book because of all of the historical facts about the culture and lifestyle of people living in Iran and I liked how the author shows what it takes to grow up and mature in a society like in this book.
There are different places in Persepolis where Marji experiences tragedy are clear examples of time slowing down and even stopping. How long does this moment last in the story and in her memory? We aren’t sure, but we realize this moment is important because we have a tendency to study the frame for longer than others. It is a more moving memory, and Satrapi stresses this by slowing down time like making the picture a full page, removing the text, and accentuating timelessness.
On page 71, Satrapi shows Marji’s feeling of loss, confusion, and hopelessness by having her floating among the stars with a blank look on her face. The picture is simple yet unusual, and as we stop to take it all in, like Marji, we feel “stuck” in the emotion of the story. Marji faces tragedy again on page 142, and the completely blacked out frame forces us to stop moving forward in the story and seriously consider what has just happened. The story reads, “No scream in the world could have relieved my suffering and my anger” (142).
Just as no sound could express her pain, there is no image powerful enough to express it, either. Here Satrapi is zooming in and widen the story to show that there are limits to the representation, especially of tragedy, and manipulating time is a method used to communicate what drawing/speech alone cannot. Satrapi also uses delays in the book to give a sense of reality to the story, as the digressions state the “normal” life of a teenager. During the revolution, Marji is still a young girl with interests that would relate to teenagers anywhere: “I put my posters up in my room. I put my 1983 Nikes on… / …And my denim jacket with the Michael Jackson button, and of course, my headscarf” (Satrapi 131). Even though she has to wear the headscarf, Marji is still expressing her own identity and shows interest in popular culture. The coincidence of Nikes and a headscarf may seem like a minor detail, but it shows the clash of freedom and oppression that Marji grows up facing. There are also more general elements that made this book fascinating, for example, the significant historical context of the story.
I actually learned a lot from this story. I didn’t know anything about the Iranian revolution or the Islamic Regime and now I feel like I could actually have a conversation with someone about it. It was really eye opening and something that I’m glad I know about now—especially the injustices against women. As disturbing as it is learn about, I think it’s important to know. Analyzing how time works in Persepolis opened my eyes to the genre of graphic novels as a unique way to tell a story, and not just a genre for kids with superficial, superhero content.
After reading Persepolis, I gained much more respect for comics/graphic novels, realizing how moving these stories can be. The book begins with the author explaining the brief history of the country of Iran. The author explains that the reason for her book is to show that Iran is not a country of terrorists, and to also prove to the people in the West that the characterizations of her country are incorrect. Next, the author introduces a ten year old girl named Marji Satrapi.
At the beginning of the book, the author then shows the innocence that the children have at this young age. The book then tells about how Marji tries to follow the right path and obey the laws of God and not the teachings of Karl Marx. Marji speaks to God every night, which God tries to convince her that she is a going to be prophet. Marji is more a little more knowledgeable about the history of her culture because of the books Marji’s parents give her to read. Marji’s father tells her about the history of the Revolution that’s been in her country for a long time.