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The Things We Take for Granted

After finishing this section of Persepolis, I was truly surprised to see how different Satrapi’s early teenage years were from my own. I made me realize how much I took for granted all of the freedoms that I was able to enjoy because I am fortunate enough to come from an affluent family in the United States. While I was able to grow up experimenting with new clothes and was pretty much free to dress however I wanted, Satrapi was ridiculed and scrutinized for wearing western clothing, and was even threatened with being sent to “the committee.”

What struck me the most, though, was how much I take for granted the medical care available to us in the United States. Because of Iran’s closed borders, Satrapi’s uncle needed special permission from the government in order to be allowed to leave the country and go to England for his life-saving surgery. Because the hospital director used to be Satrapi’s aunt and uncle’s social subordinate, instead of taking the measures necessary to help her uncle, he leaves the situation up to “God’s will.” This is incredibly hypocritical. He says that Taher will get medical help if God wants him to, but he does not act in accordance with God’s will, which would be to help Taher. While the healthcare system in the United States is not perfect, life and death situations such as this are not dependent on arbitrary decisions like in this case. Living in the United States, we are incredibly fortunate to have access to such good medical care and whether or not we have access to certain care is not simply left up to someone who maybe used to wash our windows.

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4 Comments

  1. Nora Apt Nora Apt

    The situation with the hospital director also reveals the power of the regime itself. As you mentioned, the hospital director was previously Satrapi’s aunt and uncle’s social subordinate. The fact that he is now in a position of power (the hospital director) indicates that social mobility could be achieved through compliance with the new regime.

  2. Alexander Seeley Alexander Seeley

    The situation of Satrapi being ridiculed for how she dressed is something which an average American adolescent does not have to experience. As they talk about the brainwashing of kids to fight to the new regime’s cause, I can see how it is easy for the regime’s controllers to promote anti liberal propaganda while using places like America as an example, where everyone are ‘sluts’ or ‘unholy’ or live according to some western negative moral code.

  3. Rachel Nugent Rachel Nugent

    I think the way you immediately felt that disconnect between her young life and your own is not only a very common response for readers (especially our age), but also the intended point of how she’s presented this story. To write a book about the war, she didn’t have to include her specific experience with the woman shaming her for how she’s dressed. She didn’t have to include the fact that they denied her uncle passage to get proper care. But the point of what she’s writing goes further than just “war is bad.” It shows the specific ways in which their daily lives were affected by intentional oppression.

  4. Michael Paul Michael Paul

    I like your connection to the United State’s healthcare system. This has a great tie to issues brought up in Leadership Ethics. One could argue that the doctor does not have the moral duty to help Marji’s uncle because of his beliefs and possibly the optimal distribution of resources. It is hard to say who is wrong and who is right, but for Marji, her own values make the answer clear as it is presented in Persepolis.

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