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A Little Effort, a Little Love, and a Little Understanding

When Marji makes the trip to Austria, there is hope that she will be able to start a new life free of judgment. It would have, for the most part, seemed that way had Satrapi chosen to begin with Marji’s short life with Zozo and her family, but instead, Satrapi began “The Soup” with her recollection of her time at the boarding house. Immediately, we are presented with Marji’s own judgment of Lucia, who she had never met. It is easy to see Marji as someone who is above bias based on the way that she presents herself and her experiences, but she automatically decides that Lucia is like her old friend Heidi without ever meeting her.

Similarly, when Marji meets Julie and is introduced to her friends, it again seems like she has finally found a group of people that lack superficial judgment, but we see on page 168 that this group of “outsiders” is quite similar to the people that Marji has tried to avoid. Both groups are depicted sitting in their own circles with their backs to the “others.” There are a couple of things that we are able to pull from this representation of judgment, the first being that no one is above judgment or bias. People are often surprised when they take the Implicit Bias Test to find out simply how much preconceived notions affect their decisions and views on other people. Similarly, as different as we are made to believe people are, we are all similar in many respects. It takes effort, as I am sure Marji must find out as she tries to avoid conformity without the judgments that naturally arise, but Satrapi is showing the reader that we are more similar than different and that a little effort, a little love, and a little understanding can go a long way in helping each individual on their journey through life, as it has for Marji so far.

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  1. Nicolette Romley Nicolette Romley

    It is interesting how you point out that someone who is afraid of being judged, like Marji, can still judge others. As readers, we feel empathy for Marji and grow to be quite fond of her, but that does not mean she is without flaw. Her flaw of judging those around her makes her more relatable and shows how she is still a young girl that has problems within herself to work through. Marji’s problems did not disappear after leaving Iran, which some may have assumed.

  2. David Ataide David Ataide

    I really liked your summary of the message of the story so far. With Iran falling head first into a haven of judgement and fundamentalism, this section in Austria seemed to show why people need to be more understanding about where people come from. People are innately different in their life experiences, and it is those experiences that shape our personalities. And yet, despite this we are all human and we should be more understanding of that.

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