The Complete Persepolis

Marjane Satrapi

Lecture 4: pp 253-end

Discussion Questions

Identity: Iranian in the West and Western in Iran, Marjane says that she is “nothing” (272). How does she resolve her identity crisis? Several times in Satrapi’s narrative, Marjane seems to hit bottom and decides to remake herself. How are these various new selves related to each other?

Nationhood and Storytelling: How are the personal stories of individual citizens related to the history of their nation?

Fear and Repression: Marjane says that “fear has always been the driving force behind all dictators’ repression.” In what ways are young people in Iran repressed, and how do they rebel against this repression?

Genre: Why do you think Satrapi ultimately chose to write this book, and why did she write it in this visual way? What does the reader gain from the graphic novel format?

Graphic Novel: What particular incidents in the story do you think are conveyed more effectively in pictures than they could have been in words alone?

Change: What are some of the ways Marjane and her female friends show off their individuality, despite their restrictive clothing?



Women in Iran

Women In Iran

Although these women do cover, which makes them very different from women in the United States, they have performed actions very similar to those of the women in the west. At the beginning of the twentieth-century women in Iran were expected to live quietly, dress conservatively, marry the man their family told them to marry, answer to their husbands and mothers-in-law, and adhere to the rules of a society that was strictly segregated by sex (Afkhami 110-111).

The twentieth century brought about changes for women in Iran. In the mid-twentieth century, women fought for the right to vote through the Women’s Organization of Iran (WOI). This organization primarily functioned through volunteers. It worked during the 1950s for Iranian women to gain the right to vote in 1963. Some members of the clergy violently opposed this angel however, the government fought against them and the law eventually stood firm (Afkhami 114). Women in the United States had a fight similar to this in the early twentieth century when they gained their right to vote in 1920.



Women in Iran

Additionally, women in Iran are heavily affected by American culture and standards of beauty. Women in Iran are limited in terms of making fashion statements due to the fact that they are mostly covered, with the exception of their faces.

In 2000, it was in vogue for women in Iran to get plastic surgery, particularly surgeries that restructured the nose. The women used their new noses as fashion statements. Women also rebelled by dying their hair and allowing their bangs to peak out from their scarves. One woman said, referring to her nose job, “I don’t want to have any faults in my face. I’d like to look beautiful, like Marilyn Monroe.” Not only does this woman want to be beautiful, like women in all cultures, but also she actually wants to look more like a woman who has a stereotypically western appearance (Sciolino).


Pre-Iranian revolution

Post-Iranian revolution

The Iranian revolution – convocation

The veil as a political act

Education system


In this chapter, Marjane states that “fear has always been the driving force behind all dictators’ repression.” In what ways are young people in Iran repressed, and how do they rebel against this repression?

The socks

The end

How does Marjane’s family react to her eventual separation and divorce from Reza? What does this show about their politics and character?

Why does Marjane finally decide to leave Iran? Do you think she will follow her mother’s instructions and never return?

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