"Persepolis" by Marjane Satrapi Essay

"Persepolis" by Marjane Satrapi Essay

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Unbeknownst to some people, a graphic novel can be a very powerful vehicle for communicating a message of great seriousness and importance. In France in 2003, the Iranian-born writer and illustrator, Marjane Satrapi, published her internationally acclaimed autobiographical comic, “Persepolis.” The novel chronicles her childhood in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that were overshadowed by the displacement of the Shah’s regime, the Islamic Revolution, and war with Iraq. The French contemporary graphic novel explores, from Satrapi’s standpoint, the ways in which Iranian politics of that time disrupted everyday-life and instigated a time of tribulation and suppression for the people of Iran. By using a minimal amount of text in a black-and-white comic-strip format, she is forcing the reader to contemplate more than just the detrimental effects that her country’s troubled past and present has had on her childhood and the people of Iran. She wants the reader to assess the nature of the novel’s format and how it contributes to her depiction of Iran’s ever changing political landscape. The black-and-white comic strip illustrations signifies the void and lifelessness left by the Islamic regimes that enforced strict cultural rules to control and restrain the people.
The political landscape depicted in the novel cannot be defined by one characteristic because as more things occur in Iran, the more the political landscape is influenced, affected, and changed. Rather, Satrapi reveals a variety of characteristics at different points in the book to show how the political landscape is redefined as new problems arise and create different conditions and circumstances for the people, and responses from the people. While the Islamic revolut...

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... on the Islamic revolution and the Iraq-Iran war effectively communicated her message. In fact, if Satrapi used prose instead of comic-strip format to tell her story, the reader would not be able to understand her perspective on the revolution as much or be able to fully understand what she and the people of Iran experienced during that time. The illustrations made her story more accessible to the reader because it felt like it was on a more personal level, like she was actually trying to connect with the reader. In some instances, the more personal a work is, the more effective it is in fulfilling the author’s purpose and agenda because the reader can try to relate to it. The method she used to present the ever-changing political landscape was very effective and even powerfully striking.

Works Cited

Satrapi, Marjane. Persepolis. New York: Pantheon, 2003. Print.

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