Critical Lens Essay – Persepolis I/Ii
According to H. M. Tomlinson, “The right good book is always a book of travel; it is about a life’s journey. ” This quote means that a good book is about an interesting series of events and advancements. A book worth reading would be about change and character growth. This is an accurate quote. This statement is proven to be true in Persepolis I and Persepolis II by Marjane Satrapi. In Persepolis I and Persepolis II by Marjane Satrapi, her character growth and life’s journey is displayed through symbolism and characterization. Character growth is displayed through symbolism in Persepolis I.
In Persepolis I, after Marji’s uncle, Anoosh, is executed by the Iranian government. Marji is upset about it; when God appears in her room to ask her what’s wrong, she tells him to get out. This shows character growth because God symbolizes her childhood. When Marji was younger, she was religious and wanted to be The Last Prophet because of her grandmother’s aches and the differences between the social classes in Iran, such as her father driving a Cadillac when others couldn’t do so. When she tells God to leave, Marji is essentially saying good-bye to her childhood.
This shows a new stage in Marji’s life due to a traumatic event. Marji’s first cigarette is also another symbol of character growth. In Persepolis I, when Marji is twelve years old, she cuts class. Her mother disapproves and yells at her for lying and missing class because it is important. Marji disagrees with her mother’s point of view. She then goes to the basement smokes a cigarette she stole from her uncle two weeks earlier. Marji’s first cigarette is a sign of rebellion; it shows she doesn’t agree with her mother.
It shows she has her own thoughts separate and independent from her mother’s. As Marji finishes the cigarette, she says that she’s a grown-up. This is another display of her character growth, and another moment in her life’s journey. Character growth is displayed though characterization in Persepolis II. In Persepolis II, Marji suffers from depression after returning home to Iran and attempts to commit suicide by swallowing all her anti-depressants. Her suicide attempt is a failure. She realizes she’s not meant to die and starts to change herself physically.
She describes how she removes body hair, gets rid of her old clothes, has new clothes made, gets original shoes, changes her hair by cutting and styling it, shopping, and exercising. This is a change and a growth from before; before Marji did not care to do these things. These physical changes make her feel better emotionally. Marji feels more confident than she felt before. Marji feels strong, and invincible. This shows Marji’s physical changes are a part of her life’s journey. The physical changes help Marji grow as a person.
Symbolism and characterization show how “The right good book is always a book of travel; it is about a life’s journey. ” In Persepolis I and Persepolis II by Marjane Satrapi, these literary elements show how Marji grows throughout her life, both physically and mentally. Dispelling God from her life as a child shows she is departing from her childhood mindset. Marji’s first cigarette shows she develops her own thoughts. Characterization is used to describe how Marji changes in her adult life. These literary elements show how a good book displays a life journey and character change and development.