Persepolis – Discussion Questions

Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi, presents conflicts over various issues which she encounters in her childhood. Even though being a seemingly precocious 6-year-old child in the beginning scene when she introduces herself as activist, she later learns that she is an inexperienced girl when she is fourteen after living by herself in West. As she spends her own life in Austria for four years, she finds the change in her identity which leads her to struggle alone. The struggling life from her growth in a western culture might raise a question why the change in her identity important. The answer from theme of the story would be the author wants to make a parallel metaphor to the change in regime during the Islamic Revolution. The battle between two sides hurts the country for years. The readers see the difference between her life at home and in public the way they see in her identity. As a precocious girl, she finds conflict of being an adult too fast while becoming involved drug. Because the readers see her use of cigarettes as a sign proving that she becomes an adult, they might come up with a question what the role of a cigarette is. The author intends to use a cigarette as a symbol showing that growing up contains both joys and tears and again making a metaphor to her country. Iran suffers from the situation that develops during each reign and has people waiting for their bright future as well as Marjane being hurt by her immature decision to try cigarettes. Becoming mature, her strong view becomes clearer on a side opposing the government and believing in religion. There might be a question why she draws a picture of Jesus on Mary’s lap based on “La Pietà”. The picture supports her belief in both politics and religion. By strongly holding her standpoint, she finally defeats her conflict in both herself and the country as she is admitted by the College of Art after being honest during her interview. As a story of growing up, Persepolis brings the readers to appreciate the mixture of feelings in the author’s childhood which highlights the importance of finding identity and holding a belief.

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