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The Grass Isn’t Always Greener on The Other Side

I had high hopes for Marji’s new life in Europe. It seemed as though, because of her rebellious nature, she would fit into European culture much better than she fit into Iranian culture. I think Marji felt as though she would have new found freedom in Austria. Freedom to dress how she wanted, freedom to think how she wanted, freedom to act how she wanted. But perhaps the freedom was too much and too drastic for Marji. She had no stability during her time in Austria, constantly moving from friend to friend and house to house. She never quite found her footing and she eventually hit rock bottom by living on the streets. I could never have imagined that Marji would end up in the circumstances that she did. We forget that she is still a young adult, practically a child, and here she is facing the world on her own.

While it is impossible to know what would have happened to her if she stayed in Iran and not gone to Austria, one could at least imagine that her experiences during her teenage years would have been drastically different. Although Marji faced many difficult experiences that overshadowed any joy she might have felt in Austria, she was able to learn more about herself through the hardship that she faced. Marji still does not have a strong sense of self, but she at least knows who she is not. We are left with a sense of hopefulness after Marji reconnects with an old friend. Upon seeing her friend who is now confined to a wheelchair, Marji realizes that her life could be much much worse and she has no reason to feel sorry for herself anymore.

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  1. Emma Joaquin Emma Joaquin

    I agree with your hopes for Marji in Europe. I think your point about there being too much freedom was a good one. It was such a drastic change from her former life it became too overwhelming and she was not ready to cope with all the freedom especially alone and without her family.

  2. Alexander Seeley Alexander Seeley

    Upon first arrival I had this thought of Marji as a very mature teenager. Slowly, as you noted we discover her dealing with the same issues (almost) all teenagers deal with such as the overarching obstacle: self-discovery. It was sad to see Marji have to return to Austria, however it gave her a sort of humanness she didn’t have before due to her elite/educated status.

  3. Michael Paul Michael Paul

    It is interesting that Marji pursued freedom her whole life, but when she finally got it, it tore her apart. Maybe it’s not her own personal freedom that drives her (although it does seem that way often) and instead its the greater freedom everywhere that influences her actions. It is no surprise that Satrapi decided to go back to Iran and write the way she does in order to spread her ideas. Marji cannot simply be content with her personal growth if that means acting at the expense of her heritage, family, and nation.

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