In Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis and in Ishmael Beah’s A Long Way Gone, both authors commentate on the romanticism of violence that is often associated with war. Because of this, the authors are able to dispel misconceptions surrounding war. Furthermore, the memoirs allow the authors reflect upon their own experiences of war during their childhoods, as well as examine how cultural shifts perpetuated by both war and the increased influence of western culture that took place within their cultures shaped who they became. Through their memoirs, the authors portray the reality of war and violence through cultural experiences.
In Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi’s childhood experiences allow her to demonstrate the cultural changes that occurred in post-revolutionary Iran, as well as those perpetrated by western culture. In Persepolis, western culture plays a major role in the author’s attempt to dispel the over-glorification of war. Towards the middle of the novel as the fundamentalist regime gained more power and influence over the Iranian government and its citizens, laws that forbade anything related to western culture were implemented. Due to the increased influence of the regime, those who were generally accepting of western culture before the revolution suddenly became unwelcoming of it. After witnessing this shift in the attitude and opinions of their neighbors and friends, Satrapi’s mother becomes frustrated.
“...Last year she was wearing a mini skirt...and now madame is wearing a chador! As for her fundamentalist husband who drank himself into a stupor every night, now he uses mouthwash every time he utters the word ‘alcohol’..” (Satrapi 78).
The quote above depicts Satrapi’s mother’s anger at those who claimed to be against the ...
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... through propaganda. Reflecting upon childhood experiences which later led to the author’s disillusionment of her culture as a whole, Satrapi recalls seeing slogans such as, “...to die a martyr is to inject blood into the veins of society,” (Persepolis, 112). Propaganda such as this added to the romanticism surrounding war and revolutionary violence in the sense that the idealizations were portrayed in such a way that led people to exclude the brutal realities of war and believe and that violence perpetrated by war was honorable and glorious.
In A Long Way Gone,
Because Satrapi and Beah tell their stories from a child’s point of view, the authors were able humanize the events of the wars they experienced, as well as changes in their cultures perpetuated by violence and propaganda, which further helped them quell the romanticism that is often associated with war.
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