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Less is More

This last section of Persepolis covers a lot of ground; however, I want to focus my attention to pages 304 through 309. Soon after starting art school, Marji discovers that half of her classmates share the same traditional beliefs as the government while the other half thinks similarly to her. These likeminded individuals gather at one person’s home and practice drawing in a way that the school prohibits: one individual holds a pose while the others observe and sketch their physique. Marji notes that over time, the number of individuals in this outgroup increases. I find it somewhat surprising that their professor supports the student’s artwork that they complete outside of school. Specifically, the professor tells the students “bravo! An artist should defy the law” and congratulates them. Based on previous interactions throughout the graphic novel, I expected an individual in a position of higher power to prohibit any creative expression, particularly an act that the government would find unacceptable.

In addition to drawing, Marji and her friends gather nightly to throw parties. The patrol of guardians of the revolution routinely bust these events; however, their visit on one particular night has greater intensity than those prior. Satrapi conveys the magnitude of this dark encounter through the absence of words on pages 307, 308, and 309. This artistic decision effectively communicates the story and embodies the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words.” In this case, the three pages worth of wordless cells depict one man’s death as he falls short in a jump from building to building (an attempt to outrun the officers). Satrapi’s decision to illustrate this heartbreaking scene with a minimalistic style demonstrates that fact that “less is more.”

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One Comment

  1. Alexander Bogomolov Alexander Bogomolov

    At first I was also a bit surprised that Marji’s professor praised their illegal drawings, but felt that it made sense that of all the professors to say this, it would be her more artistic graphic design professor. I agree with your statement that on pages 307-309 a “picture is worth a thousand words.” Satrapi’s minimalistic style effectively conveys how tragic and surreal the experience was for Marji.

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