Final Analysis Paper
English 1100 Diversity & popular US Literature
Professor Brandon Alva
Final Analysis Paper of The book: Persepolis II
"Persepolis II" was a perfect example of Scott McCloud's theory of "amplification through simplification." from “Understanding Comics," The simpler the image, the more powerful the impact it can have. All of the characters in Persepolis was depicted as simple configurations of line and shape. Satrapi gives each of her main characters a few basic, defining characteristics: Marjane’s Uncle Anoosh has wavy hair and mustache; her father Ebi has a thick black mustache; her grandmother has a thick head of white hair and wrinkles around her eyes; and the adult Marjane is given a small beauty mark. A more realistic drawing has more information to process about the details of the image itself, rather than what it represents, while a simple abstract image, like a smiley face, has very little to process, allowing us to discern the meaning far more quickly and powerfully.
I think the “Persepolis I” was more political than the “Persepolis II”. It talks more about history and living in war. The book “Persepolis II” focuses more on Marjane’s personal life. It seemed more like her personal memoir, was more about the author growing up. It talked about how her childhood transitioned into adulthood and her problems that she reached during that period of time. It was fascinating to watch her journey through Europe and see who she was and who she was becoming based on where she'd been.
Although she and her family were liberal in Iran, she has trouble adjusting to Western culture, but she was adamant to learn everything she could. She goes back and forth between Iran and Austria, feeling like an outsider no matter where she was. In Austria she was ostracized as a foreigner while in Iran she has lived the freedom of Western culture, having experiences her friends don't understand.
In Vienna, she was an immigrant, sworn at by old men on buses, bereft of family links, ending up sleeping on the streets in the middle of winter. This deals more with how Europeans identify her as "other." Marji always felt like an "outsider" or a "Third-Worlder" as she had a hard time relating sometimes to her white friends. Like she mentioned in the book: “When we're afraid, we lose all sense of analysis and reflection. Our fear paralyzes us. Fear has always been the driving force behind all dictators' repression.” From being a homeless drug addict for a brief time to finding out one her first loves was gay to becoming an aerobics teacher, Marji definitely goes through more things in her short time than most people do in a lifetime. Although she made some terrible choices after she left Iran, but considering she faced life in a foreign country alone, with little support, it is no wonder. In Iran, she was told by the government what she could wear and could not wear, how she was to act, speak, etc.... To be suddenly given so much freedom, Satrapi tried on Persona's and attitudes of the people around her, while trying to find herself.
After breaking up with her boyfriend and living on the street for a few months, she decides to return to Iran, thinking that it will be easy to readjust back into her old life. Naturally, it isn't. She has become accustomed to certain things that are common in Europe, but not so much in Iran. She was now living between two worlds; she is neither fully Iranian, nor was she fully Europeanized.
Coming back, part of what she had to do was come to terms with the war and her identity as an Iranian. She learns to be comfortable with herself and her views, no matter which it separates her from. “Oh my!! How you've grown. Soon you'll be catching the Lord's balls.” This was the first sentence her grandmother said to her when Marjane come back to Iran. She was lucky to have parents and relatives who think the same way she does.
In Tehran she was spoiled by her experience of the outside world, picks fights with the religious authorities, has difficulty fitting back in. As an art student, she has the bizarre experience of trying to draw a fenale model whose body is completely covered; the girls solve this by modelling for each other at home. She successfully challenges the college to change the uniform for female students, and ends up designing it herself.
Finally, at the end of the book, she and her husband embark on a grand project exploring Iranian culture and mythology; but in the end it turns out to be incompatible with the principles of the Islamic Revolution, and their marriage ends, and Marjane leaves for France. She said, “We can only feel sorry for ourselves when our misfortunes are still supportable. Once this limit is crossed, the only way to bear the unbearable is to laugh at it.”, when she is leaving her home country again in the end.
I think there's so much to be said about her journey home. The abstract and concreted concepts of "home" have so much charge over us. I think this book motivates us to consider, as we undoubtedly have many times, what home really is.
This book's journey deals with the dislocation of the immigrant experience, especially within the framework of someone entering the Western world for the first time like myself. The main impact for me, aside from learning about the Iranian Revolution, was after living in Europe for a time, Marjane re-enters Iran and must re-adjust again to her life there, which may happen to me in the near future. The story of Marjane definitely made me think about the culture difference between my home country and United States. Also let me start thinking about my re-adjust from now in the United States back to my country after several years.
In all, I really liked how it gave you a view of Iran from a person who was going through all of it. The sense of humor is really good. It is an interesting view of what life for a refugee from the Islamic revolution.