Professor Name Class
Afterthe 1979 revolution, Iran undergoes a lot of changes. The shah’sgovernment supported by fundamentalist try to impose an Islamicstate, and people rebelled against them. In this book, Satrapi triesto depict the evils of an Islamic state, and how oppressive anddiscriminatory it is to women and girls. Through Marji’s Character,she tries to compare the western countries that are free fromfundamentalism, to Iran. From her narration, it is clear thatfundamentalism is not that bad, and might be useful in thedevelopment of a person’s identity.
Inthis book, Satrapi argues that Iran was trying to protect its cultureagainst western dominance. The fundamentalist and the conservativegovernment tried to ensure that Iran’s culture was not going to bedissolved by the west (European nations). Drastic measure had to beput in place.
Accordingto the book, Iran had to get rid of all western influence andreligion to save its culture. Girls had to be separated from boysand forced to cover their heads, and women forced to wear veils.Wearing the veil was so serious that Marji’s mother is accosted fornot wearing the veil by fundamentalist. This frightens her (Satrapi78). The book depicts an element of fear used by the shah governmentto intimidate people to follow their rules.
Notall people are intimidated, some decide to fight. They want changeand vow to overrun the government. This is the main reason, therevolution starts, people no longer want to be oppressed. Thisrevolution is seen not only on the on the streets but also in theminds of children, such as Marji. People want to be free. Forexample, Satrapi explains how Marji is fascinated by western clothesand music that she does not relate to her culture anymore.
Thebooks portrays an element of defiance from Iranians. Satrapi explainshow there are violent demonstrations and confrontations with thepolice. The people are angry and accuse the king of being a killer,they vow that they will catch him one day. This shows that people arenot taking things lying down and are willing to fight the king fortheir freedom. They no longer accept to be oppressed. After 2500years of tyranny and submission, the people finally awaken (Satrapi15).
Marjialso refuses to conform to the new changes. She instead likesAmerican clothes and punk music. This is a form of rebellion to thenew changes in Iran. She refuses to wear the veil and instead prefersAmerican clothes in contrast to the expectation of the state. Thisworries her parents who decide to send her off to Australia. The bookshows how people are dealing with the changes in theirsociety/religion. For Satrapi, she is trying to show how alienatedshe felt, in a country she loved, now things were changing fast andwants to identify with European nations, which seem better.
Satrapitries to show how the revolution was affecting her own identity. Forinstance, though Marji’s character, she shows how her aspirationsand dreams were all shattered by the revolution. Her belief inreligion and aspirations to become a prophet were shattered by therevolution. Now she wanted to be a doctor, which surprised everyone,she felt that she did not understand religion anymore. This showsthat she was evolving and trying to find her identity.
WhenMarji’s father comes home one day after taking pictures ofdemonstrations against the king, he explains how things were, andMarji realizes that she did not understand some of the terms used,she started reading books (Satrapi 36). The books show how Satrapiwas evolving with the new changes in Iran. She now wanted to learnand advance herself.
Also,she did not agree with the social setting in Iran which placed peoplein different social classes. Satrapi does not consider that to befair to the less fortunate people, such as their house-help who hadfallen in love with the neighbor’s son. But, the two are notallowed to date because they belong to different social classes. Thisangers Marji, she doesn’t understand why, so she joins ademonstration to protest.
Thebook shows a sharp contrast between life in Iran and in Europe. InEurope, which she had always perceived to be better than Iran, sherealizes that it was colder and subtle, compared to the warmcareering love of her family in Iran. Even though the regime wasoppressive, she was surrounded by loving people. As opposed to theforeign countries where everybody was deceptive. According to her,the west was devoid of faith in people. She argues that Europeanswere mundane and selfish. For instance, she goes to live in thestreets when her boyfriend cheats on her. The western world was notwhat she had envisioned as a little girl (Satrapi 234). In this book,Satrapi is trying to shows how family love and careering areimportant components in forming a person’s identity.
Withoutlove and protection of her parents, and rules, her characterworsened. She went from bad to worse. Satrapi describes how sheexperimented with drugs, sex, and was rude to other people. She waslost. In a country not her own, with no one to take care of her, shehad become the worst person she never thought she would become. Atone point she went to live in the streets after finding her boyfriendhaving sex with another girl (Satrapi 195). The book shows that inthe absence of family love and protection, and rules/culture, a childcan be lost.
Forexample, while in France, Marji’s joined a group of ANARCHISTfriends, who introduced her to all types of mood enhancers: such as,hash and weed. She did not concentrate in class and this made herphysics teacher worried. It is clear from the explanation she gavehim that she had lost herself and her identity. Mainly because of theconfusion of being brought up in different countries. She feelsalienated from her family, and although safe in Europe, she is athird world alien (she does not belong there, she does not understandtheir culture, and fitting into this new culture was not easy forher) (Satrapi 200).
Beingbrought up in Iran with the warm love of her family, she felt astrong sense of belonging. It was her home, and she liked it.However, when she went to Europe, people were cold and distant, itwas not the same. Everybody was concerned with their own life andthey did not care about one another. She joined several groups, triedtheir lifestyles, and even tried having relationships. All to noavail. They all lead to heartbreaks. Her home was better, though fullof violence and fundamentalism, but better than the cold insensitiveEurope. She had identified that she was not European but Iranian, andwanted to go back and fix things (Satrapi 218).
Accordingto Satrapi, fear is an important component in the formation of aperson’s identity. For example, when she returns to Iran,everything had changed, she tries to fit in but things were no longerthe same. When her parents go away for ten days, she tried to commitsuicide by taking all her antidepressant medication. She does notdie, and this fear that she almost died, helped change her mentality,from self-pity to a dance instructor (Satrapi 276). Fear made herrealize that life was not a rehearsal, and she needed to startshaping her life in the right direction.
Accordingto Satrapi, freedom is the ability to choose what people should dowith their lives without interference from other people. In order tobe free, people should be allowed to choose their dressing code, whomto date, and how to live their lives. For her, she experiences thisfreedom in western countries, and when she goes back to Iran, she isafraid of losing it.
Fromthe explanation above, it is clear that fundamentalism and rules arean important component in the development of a person’s identity.This is clear when Satrapi describes the freedom in Europe, and howit made her lose her identity. The book seems to revolve around thatpoint, freedom, and fundamentalism. When she goes back to Iran, mostof her friends were far much better than she was. For them, the rulesin Iran had enabled them to identify themselves and their sense ofpurpose. She, on the other hand, had been derailed by freedom.
Satrapi,Marjane. TheComplete Persepolis.2002. Print.
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