Iranian Revolution and Comic Book Persepolis
Persepolis The memoir of Marjane Satrapi growing up in Iran is written as a very personal account in the comic book Persepolis. This is a story that describes her life during the Islamic Revolution which includes her moral, physical, religious, and psychological struggles she endured. Being the setting of a bloody war with Iraq, Iran was not the ideal environment Marjane’s parents wanted her to grow up in. Persepolis represents a unique life of a child in Tehran, Iran and the actions she took in order to survive the political upheaval her country was facing.
Marjane Satrapi is of great importance in teaching us the hardships of life during war as well as the history of her country. Persepolis was chosen to be on the summer reading list of books, each of which are of great historical importance, because it is a remarkable story of someone who lived during the Islamic Revolution. Marjane Satrapi herself is not extraordinary in the grand scheme of history, but she does represent what families encountered in trying to adjust to the war against Iraq when the new regime emerged.
She teaches us the changes that took place in Iran during this time period such as mandatory laws stating that women wear veils and how all games, alcohol, and parties were banned. Satrapi describes the actions she took to stand up against injustices as a young girl when she decides she wants to be a revolutionary. The Islamic Revolution and the war that followed the revolution are important in history because they show the causes and effects of war and how it can consequently destroy a country and provoke tyranny and injustice. The events described in Persepolis also inform us of the chaos Iran has gone through to get to its current state.
There are a variety of lessons from Persepolis that can be applied to modern day events regarding war as well as everyday life. The war was the cause of hundreds of thousands of deaths as well as severe economic damage. The history presented in this book shows us the costs and damages of war which we can learn from in order to help us in our current war and in the future. Marjane Satrapi faces racism and sexism during her life that had a huge impact on her and eventually led her to leave Iran for better opportunities in Austria. We learn that oppressive close-minded governments compel people to rebel.
Marjane and other women are discriminated against constantly in Iran if they show too much skin or their clothes are too tight, however, the laws are not correspondent with the ones for males. When Marjane leaves Iran and goes to Austria she is treated indecently because she is an Iranian. These discriminatory acts can help us learn that people do not deserve to be treated differently so much to the point that they need to leave their own country for more freedom and a better life. Marjane Satrapi faces the conflict of living a normal life in Iran during the war.
There are bombings in her town and her next door neighbor’s building is even hit by a missile and the family is killed. She deals with oppressive teachers at school and the new Iranian regime who implement strict laws prohibiting anything that resembles western culture and the demand that all women are modest. The internal war in Iran soon became a larger issue than the war with Iraq. Persecutions took place continually for anyone who resisted the regime. The new laws ignited public rebellions in the form of protests and rebellions behind closed doors where families threw parties.
This conflict eventually led to the climax when Marjane’s parents told her they were sending her to Vienna, Austria for a better chance at life. She is free of the authoritarian government and hopes this new home will be the resolution to all problems, but she still faces challenges in a new country. Marjane arrives in Austria in 1984, makes friends, loses some, and the new conflict becomes the struggle to fit in somewhere. Marjane goes through many physical changes in her appearance, starts having sex, becomes a drug dealer, and loses her interest in school although she has always been an intelligent girl.
Before things get better for Satrapi, they get worse. Her first real boyfriend cheats on her and she leaves the place she is staying because she becomes fed up with the owner. She is now out of money and homeless, but goes to the home of her mother’s friend where her parents call her and beg her to come home. The climax in this part of the story occurs during the transition between her homelessness and her return to Iran. Going back home does not solve her problems though. She cannot escape the image of war in her home country and she tries to commit suicide, but somehow lives.
She ends up marrying a man named Reza and they attend a university together, but later decide to get a divorce because they do not love each other any longer. The war has ended by 1988 and Marjane realizes that her ultimate resolution is to leave Iran and live in France for the rest of her life. The actions of Marjane Satrapi are very admirable during her country’s time of chaos. When she felt that she was being treated unfairly, she spoke up and questioned others in a dignified manner without being insulting.
However, many of the authority figures claimed that questioning them was insulting them so she was sometimes punished. When Marjane and her classmates were being told that they must wear long veils and loose clothing she stood up in front of the class and asked why they must be so covered up when the boys were not required to dress to the same degree. This was one of many admirable acts that Marjane displayed and she was even commended by her classmates. Marjane Satrapi was a strong, brave individual who lived through the war as a young girl and was forced to live in Austria at the age of fourteen, not knowing anyone.
Despite the hardships in her life, she should be admired for the courageous ways in which she handled situations. She lived a somewhat independent life, but maintained focus on her education, family, and morals. She did not allow the war to limit her success and always showed pride for her country. The Islamic Revolution and the Iranian war against Iraq are very significant components to the grand scheme of history and Marjane Satrapi’s life is a remarkable depiction of the struggles one had to face during this occurrence.