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Satrapi’s Sacrifice

In this section of Persepolis, we see Marji return to Iran after living in Europe for four years. However, this return came at a very high cost after what she endured towards the end of her time there. Marji invested everything into Markus; her whole life would revolve around a relationship with a guy that she had only just met and Marji was in in no way prepared for when she eventually finds him in bed with another woman. She had spend much of her savings on him and had no plan outside of spending her life with him. This fairytale is completely shattered when their relationship ends, and Marji quickly finds herself homeless after she runs out of money. After she is forced to leave the buses and trains that she initially spends her nights in, she is relegated to sleeping on the streets in the middle of winter, greatly jeopardizing her health. Luckily, Marji is eventually hospitalized, but then has nowhere else to go. As a result, she collects money from Zozo and returns to Iran to live with her parents.

The chapter where Marji makes this major decision is a callback to the first volume of Persepolis; both chapters are titled “The Veil.” In both chapters, Marji goes from living without having to wear the veil to then transitioning into a culture where it is imposed upon her. However, this time, Marji is voluntarily returning to this culture because she has nowhere else to go. In this case, the veil is a last resort, and Marji is sacrificing her freedom of personal expression. Her personal expression was the reason why she initially left Iran, and now it is what she much sacrifice in order to survive after what happened to her in Europe. It’s interesting to see how much Marji has changed and come into herself since the start of her memoir, so I look forward to further reading how reentering the fundamentalist culture of Iran will personally affect her.

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4 Comments

  1. Nora Apt Nora Apt

    While reading this section of Persepolis, specifically the chapter “The Veil,” I also immediately thought back to the graphic novel’s opening chapter. Over the course of the story, we have watched Marji rapidly mature. I think her decision to return home encapsulates this personal growth; it was subsequently a result of her first heartbreak. Throughout the story, Marji has endured many devastating events; however, this one in particular contributes to her development as an individual and ultimately forces her to confront her desire to be back with her family.

  2. Rachel Nugent Rachel Nugent

    The use of the chapter title “The Veil” was very striking to me as well and I definitely think it’s an intentional choice to make us think about where her story started. I think it’s interesting how you point out that this second time, the veil is Marji’s choice. Sure, we can see that she has kind of run out of other options but she is willfully returning to Iran because it’s the only thing she can do to save herself and bring herself that comfort. In that way, calling this chapter “The Veil” makes it seem like more of a life preserver rather than the oppressive ocean that it was at the start of the story.

  3. Alexander Seeley Alexander Seeley

    Marji’s move back to Iran was definitely a surprise to me. For what her parents promoted, and what she seemed to represent, I was baffled that she would want to re-enter a society of such control. However. Marji missed her home and if oppression and the veil made her feel at home, so be it..it was home.

  4. Michael Paul Michael Paul

    I love your connection between both chapters titles “The Veil.” I didn’t notice this at first, and there are clear connections between the two, but it is the differences, in particular, that I found interesting. It is hard for the reader to tell the difference between Marji and her classmates in the first instance of “The Veil,” despite their stark differences. In the second instance of “The Veil,” Marji is no longer compared to her peers, it is just her. At first glance, it might look as if she has figured out who she is and has become more of an individual along the way, but it turns out that she is just as confused as she was at the start. The difference is that she is now aware of what she is unaware of and I think that shows her maturity and growth.

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