?Katherine Luevano Proffesor Naraghi Humanities 8 16 October 2013 Persepolis Essay Imagine being born with a stamp on your forehead that defines where you’ll fit in society for the rest of your life. The book Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi, greatly deepens the readers understanding of iran and iranian women by the illustration of Marjane’s childhood all the way through adolecense while living in Iran at a time where gender, nationality, and social class defined one’s identity the most.
Persepolis greatly deepens the reader’s understanding of Iran and Iranian people by explaining the hopeful life of an iranian woman, providing plenty of demonstrations against the strict government, and by showing the hardships for all social classes; and because of these circumstances, Marjane had a difficult time finding her identity. In America, we live in a world where clothing is a way to define and express ourselves. It’s normal for a 16 year old girl to curl her hair and go out to meet her boyfriend at the mall and hold his hand; but this is not the case in Iran.
Women are restricted to show their hair or show public signs of affection with any man unless she is married to that man. On page 74, Marjane’s mother warns her daughter by explaining one of her experiences, “They insulted me. They said that women like me should be pushed up against a wall and fucked. And then thrown in the garbage. … And that if I didn’t want that to happen, I should wear the veil… “. Marjane had always been deprived of her individuality, not only as a woman, but as a person.
Being a woman in Iran meant Marjane was never able to fully express herself, not only by not speaking her thoughts, but by not being able to wear the clothes she wanted or listen to the music she wanted. Not being able to fully express herself (by wearing the clothes she wanted, doing her hair how she wanted, or listening to the music she wanted) from a young age prevented Marjane from finding her identity and being her own person. Also, in America, most people are passive when it comes to government, but this is because nowadays there are no bombings in our hometowns.
In page 81, Marjane states, “Ok, enough of that. The real Islamic invasion has come from our own government,”. Even at a young age she was consumed by her interest in her country’s government and focused her attention on finding a reason why things were the way they were. Imagine being like Marjane and having to constantly worry, even at a young age, about your house being bombed or your family members being killed on a daily basis because they said the wrong thing or were in the wrong place at the wrong time. This makes one take on a new view of life.
At an age where here in America we would be worrying about learning algebra or passing an english exam, Marjane worried about death,war, and her country’s government. This was another factor that interfered in her development and made it even more difficult for her to question the world surrounding her. She was never able to have a so-called “normal” childhood due to the circumstances of her country’s governemnt, therefore making it dufficult for her later on in life to discover who she was because her life (as she knew it) revolved around Iran and it’s government and the war.
In the first few chapters of the story, Marjane realizes the difference between social classes in her country. On page 33 Marjane stated, “The reason for my shame and for the Revolution is the same: the difference between social classes,”. She noticed how her father was wealthy enough to drive a Cadillac and how her maid couldn’t date the neighbor because she was from the lower class. However, when Marjane goes to Europe, she finds herself living in a different social class than that of which she was accustomed to.
Marjane had lived her life as a wealthy girl and in a few years her life was completely transformed as she found herself having to sleep on the streets. After being able to live in both worlds and witness the contrast between social classes, Marjane was able to realize that her social class had always defined who she was, and because she was rich, she would have never experienced in Iran what true hardships were.
She realized that in Iran, she had always been labeled as “upper class” from the moment she was born and therefore was never able to define herself on her own. In conclusion, this book demonstrates what it was like to live in Iran, to be a woman in Iran, and to live during wartime in Iran. More importantly, it also shows how the effect of these circumsizes caused Marjane to grow up and have a difficult time being her own individual.