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Maturity and Personal Growth

This final portion of Persepolis can be characterized by Marji’s acceptance of herself as a unique individual as well as her considerable growth in maturity. Comparing back to the beginning of the book, there are many distinct changes that we see in Marji, which largely went unnoticed along the way. For physical changes, studies have shown that it takes six months to notice any personal differences. As we read through Marji’s life, it takes reflection back to Marji’s beginnings before we notice just how far she has come, both physically in how she is represented by Satrapi’s art style as well as how she has changed in her thoughts and actions. 

Because we have seen Marji’s life through her own eyes, it is hard to acknowledge when Marji acted unfairly. When Marji was in Vienna, she looked at the Western students with contempt because they hadn’t known war, especially when she was asked if she had seen people killed. On page 278, we see these roles switch. Marji, who had previously been shielded from the most horrific aspects of war and who had spent a good portion of her life in Austria finally acknowledges that she had not had the most horrific experiences in the room. In fact, she asks Reza nearly the same question that Momo asks her: “What? You killed people?.” 

This entire story has been about the conflict between individuality and conformity and we see Marji attempt to stand out in her own way from the norm in every way that she can. Finally, Marji has found that individuality does not mean being different in every way possible. Similar to when she was candid with the Mulah during the exam interview, Marji has found out who she is and acknowledges that she shares many experiences with others but also many experiences that remain very personal to her. As the reader, we can’t ever know what Marji truly felt like, no matter how well Satrapi does at portraying it, but we can sympathize and learn in the same way that Marji has grown to do the same.

 

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4 Comments

  1. Katherine Fell Katherine Fell

    I agree with you in that Marji’s candor during her exam interview was incredibly significant. If Marji had been asked these questions at another point during her memoir, she struggles with conformity and identity would likely have altered her responses. It is after her experiences in both Iran in Europe that she can truly present herself honestly and not have to put up a facade in order to exist in her culture. It was also refreshing to see that honesty being rewarded instead of condemned for the sake of a political or religious narrative.

  2. David Ataide David Ataide

    I really liked how you mentioned the comparison between Marjane talking to Reza and Marjane talking to Momo. I think the comparison of these two sections cements Marjane’s evaluation that she is neither Iranian nor Western. She is too Iranian to fit into the casual West that asks about her wartime experiences, and she is too Western to fit into the martyr-focused Iran. This is especially evident when she nonchalantly mentions that she is not a virgin to her friends and they scold her for it.

  3. Nicolette Romley Nicolette Romley

    I enjoyed how you focused on the overall theme of the story, which was Marji finding herself. It is easy to get lost in the countless details of the story and ignore the greater message that Marji is trying to portray. We saw Marji’s many trials and tribulations, which all contributed to her becoming her true self. I agree with how the reader was kind of blind to Marji’s flawed acts because we became so invested in her story and only saw her as the protagonist of that story.

  4. Sara Messervey Sara Messervey

    I think like you said, she discovers that individuality is not being distinct in every possible way. She can have shared interests with her people and culture. I also think that this need to prove her individuality is an important aspect of her struggle with the oppressive regime. When women undergo the process of being objectified so absolutely, there can be a desperate need to “escape” others expectations of you. I think returning to Iran helped her to understand this part of herself and learn to look internally for her sense of self rather than focusing on her outward appearances.

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