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Resistance to a New Authority

In this second section of Persepolis, I could immediately tell that the vibe of the story had changed. With the coming of the new Islamic regime and the war with Iraq, the atmosphere of Iran as depicted in the graphic novel had changed dramatically. Suddenly most characters in the story wore all black. The Satrapi family in particular came under heavy fire from numerous outside sources, both soldiers and neighbors, about their supposedly sinful behavior. Violence and verbal harassment have become a norm as radically religious people begin to berate those who they consider sinners for doing something as simple as wearing the wrong kind of sneakers. It was really alarming to see such a sudden shift in mindset in Iran, but it helped paint the picture and show why the country is the way that it is today. The thing that interested me the most is how the Iranian government would lie to its people about the daily war updates against Iraq. This in particular reminded me of the Kim regime of North Korea, and how they lie to their people about everything to keep them uninformed about the true nature of world politics.

All of this being said, I felt a huge theme of this section was the idea of resistance to oppression. This part of the story featured some of the strictest oppression that we have read so far in this class, but it was good to see that there was still some resistance from those who refused to simply accept the new changes. Examples include Marjane’s father who is adamant about resisting any religious fanatics who try to berate him. Even the children of Marjane’s class were rebellious against their new strict school policies because, as Marjane stated, they remembered a time when schools were secular. The end of this section included Marji dressing in Westernized clothing and blasting “Kids in America” by Kim Wilde in a blatant rejection of the religious fanaticism. It was comforting to know that people weren’t immediately accepting the new oppression and had some element of resistance.

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5 Comments

  1. Nora Apt Nora Apt

    Going off of your commentary, I think another point of resistance worth mentioning is Marji’s resistance to her mother. In her attempt to rebel, Marji smokes a cigarette she stole from her uncle. Marji associates smoking a cigarette with the start of adulthood which reflects an inability to differentiate between her rebellion and adulthood. Furthermore, Marji comments that “it was awful. But this was not the moment to give in” (117). This statement reveals the fact that Marji still truly is a child as she has tears streaming down her face yet feels like she needs to make herself miserable in order to act out against her mother.

  2. Emma Joaquin Emma Joaquin

    The past about the government hiding things is very interesting and relevant currently. Aside from North Korea, just the idea that so much is hidden from nation’s citizens, you never know what information is being withheld from us, and this book reminds us of that.

  3. Alexander Seeley Alexander Seeley

    They way in which the government is able to trick many into believing their success is not only wrong but scary. Although Satrapi’s educated, elite, liberal family does not fall for this…it is easy to see how many people existing in a society could be brainwashed into a cause just because of the words and pictures they see on their t.v. screen or hear on the radio.

  4. Rachel Nugent Rachel Nugent

    I agree that the tone shift is very apparent. I think it comes a little bit from the fact that Marji is growing up, but also due to the war. The page where Taher dies really struck me with how bluntly she was presenting information, which really coincided with how her mom comments on how blunt she is. The shift in tone like this serves to really wake the reader up, remind us that it’s a story about war and oppression and that we need to listen to her and her family’s story of how they resisted this oppression.

  5. Michael Paul Michael Paul

    Your connection to North Korea is very relevant to Persepolis, as are a variety of other oppressive regimes. Recently, a group of Chinese students was interviewed about their views on the Chinee government, and their answers were extremely positive and supportive, despite clear human rights violations. It is interesting to see Marji maintain her sense of individuality despite a country full of “brainswashed” people. I wonder how this will change as she grows older.

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