Change in Marji: Persepolis
Topic: Character Analysis of Marji in Persepolis Audience: Teacher Purpose: To Persuade You Are Who You Are Dean Acheson once gave the timeless advice of “always remember that the future comes one day at a time”. This quote highlights how truly important each and every day is and the significance of the time you use or waste. The way that you choose to use that time, the decisions you make, and the things that surround you change who you are and greatly affect your future.
These are all aspects that were clearly shown throughout the graphic novel Persepolis. It is because of these aspects of life that Marji developed the characteristics that she did. As an Iranian citizen Marji was consumed by war for a long time. This is what forced her to learn to take experiences and hardships one day at a time and develop certain traits that she may not have otherwise. It forced her to look at everything in a different perspective than the average child would have, and that is what has molded her into the woman she is today.
It becomes clear through the examination of both the novel and the film Persepolis that Marji was a very dynamic character because of her outlook on life due to her many influential surroundings, and her countless unique life experiences that came as a result of the war. Many of Marji’s unique experiences that have affected her positively and negatively as a person come as a result of war both in and around her life. The war brought out many positive characteristics in Marji. It taught her to be a strong and independent woman that knew who she was and would never forget, no matter what.
Throughout the novel and the film there are many instances of marji’s defiance towards the government. Although this may be perceived as childish and immature, it also shows her strength of character and spirit. Whether she was being demanded to wear the veil, beating her chest to show support for her country, buying music tapes on the street, or wearing jeans and jewelry in school, Marji has always found a way to voice her opinion. She wanted to spread the truth about the revolution, so that’s exactly what she did. When told that there were no longer any political risoners, Marji was quick to correct the teacher by declaring, “You say that we don’t have political prisoners anymore. But we’ve gone from 3,000 prisoners under the shah to 300,0000 prisoners under your regime. How dare you lie to us like that? ” (Satrapi 144). Her rebellion shows that Marji is the kind of person who is willing to stand up for what she believes in and isn’t afraid to tell people what she thinks, which is an important trait for a young woman to have in life. On the other hand, there are also negative aspects to this situation.
Because Marji was completely immersed in the war at such a young age she began to lose sight of what was truly important to her in life very early on. In the beginning of the novel, at the age of six, she was already sure that she was the last prophet. She wanted to become a prophet because she wanted to change things: “because our maid did not eat with us, because my father had a Cadillac, and above all because my grandmother’s knees always ached. ” (Satrapi 6). This just goes to show that at this point God was a huge part of her life, but once the protests began, this did not last for much longer.
Marji began to ignore God and push him away, which is accurately shown in “The Sheep” through Marji’s anger towards God that caused her to drift away and focus on things that she found more important, like war. Religion began as an essential part of Marji’s life, but by the end of the novel it was something that she had completely turned her back on and lost touch with. Overall, the war was proven to have a strong effect on Marji’s life and has helped her grow from the small little girl with dreams of being a prophet, to a strong and independent woman that she has become by the end of the novel.
Marji was not only affected by war, but also by the many influential people in her life throughout the story. Whether it be her Uncle Anoosh, her grandmother, her parents, or her friends, it’s those that you surround yourself with that influence your life the most. For example, one day Marji’s parents told her about her Uncle Anoosh that she had never met. The two immediately had a very close bond that stayed strong even through their final few moments together. He taught her about the war, and through his stories and actions he taught her to believe in herself, and her ideas no matter what any one else thought.
Anoosh believed in the revolution wholeheartedly and even though it may not have turned out great for him, his dedication, perseverance, and stubbornness are all traits that Marji later portrayed throughout the book. Another person who greatly impacted Marji’s life was her grandmother. She had a great influence on Marji who looked up to her, and knew that her grandmother was always there to look out for her. Marji’s grandmother had a strong moral sense that showed in every situation.
She frequently acts as Marji’s conscience throughout the story; for example, in the film when Marji was about to get caught by the Guardians of the Revolution, she did whatever was necessary in order to avoid persecution. But her grandmother was quick to tell her that what she had done as wrong, and had to be set straight. Her grandmother keeps her grounded, and helps her remember who she is and where she comes from when she loses sight of it. She taught her about humility, integrity, and that in “Life, everyone always has a choice. (Satrapi 1. 14. 15). Even though she may not have showed these characteristics in the given situation, they are still evident traits that Marji acquired through the course of the book thanks to her grandmother. Finally, the Iranian government was something that surrounded Marji and drastically changed her life. Although the physical people of the government may not have been around her, it was the rules and regulations set by those in power that became overwhelmingly present in her life over the course of the revolution.
The way they were forced to dress, the pass-times that were forbidden, and all of the other limitations put on the public made the government’s presence definite. This taught Marji to be a criminal in the eyes of the law, but also that if you believe in something, you should fight for it. There were many times in which Marji shared new and different ideas to those of the Iranian government that everyone else followed. She learned to test society and be different, and that is one of the most important traits a person can have, individuality.
This proves that people that influence your life may not always influence it in a positive way, but over all that’s how you become the person you are. By examining both the novel and the film it becomes clear that Marji develops countless characteristics throughout the book, due to many different aspects of her life. She has become the person she is today because of the people and the war that surrounded and influenced her ever day. So, in the end it is important to remember that each day can be used to improve yourself and those around you because even though you may not be able to see it, the impact is incredible.