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Contextual Analysis of Persepolis

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1096 words Published: 18th Aug 2021

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This film based on the same titled novel by Marjane Satrapis, is an animated film which explores the encounters of the young girl growing up in Iran at the time of Iranian revolution. An award winning film and nominated for the academy awards, this movie is based on an enchanting story that is aimed at reflecting the Iranian history on a contemporary perspective, and being based on a young girl’s story, reflects an honest and trustworthy expression of the historic events occurring at this time in the best way anyone could have imagined of. This movie explores the transition of the Iranian government and the totalitarian rule which resulted from this change. The story depicts the spirit and strength of this young lady as she manages to emerge as a heroine in the war torn and politically unstable Iran at that time in history. The political turmoil’s are well expressed in the innocent tale from a girl of just 10 years old and leaves every reader with a portrait not easily forgettable.

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The uniqueness of this book is the fact that it was adapted to screen by the same author, the fact that this is a comic book, but also most importantly, when the book is an autobiography. This movie is set up in simple drawings, showing the streets of Vienna and Paris. With a simple grey background, this book is true to the comics as well as life of the author; Marjane.

The context of this film is relevant to the political and historic context of Iran’s history. Just as the story portrays the young girl Marjane as she grows from childhood to adulthood through a politically unstable period, the same is happening to the country. The story revolves around her personal life including her relations with her uncle, and grandmother. She learns from the people around her who place her in a position to make her own judgment about the ruling regime and the effects of the transition (Sarah ¶ 3). She clearly understood the price of freedom when her own uncle gave up his life for the sake of freedom and she is quick to correct Momo when she suggests other wise.

The context of the movie is very relevant to the political and historical point of view, showing a personal interaction with this political climate and the repercussions there after. Basically, this novel highlights issues dealing with factuality of the Iranian history and the personal narrative regarding that history. The both sides of history are well explored in this narrative with the personal life of Satrapi which was well insulated against the inconsistencies and disturbances in the politics of her government and even goes to school abroad to avoid this unpredictability.

The realism of this autobiography is well explained in the simplicity of the special eyes the author assumes; animation and the small girl (Sarah ¶ 2). This helps her stress the kind of warmth the girl enjoyed from her family and the support to the point of her father suggesting a possible relocation to the United States where he could work as taxi driver. this passage from life as a young girl to adulthood is carefully contrasted by the fact that, she grew up to witness her country as is passes from Shah rule to Islamic state which was necessitated by the Iranian revolution (Marjane 96). The two time periods; when she was a young girl growing in Iran and witnessing the political events as they occurred and the realization of events when she was in the verge of self definition and her parents took her to study in Vienna in order to protect her from the instability back home, are well depicted in the whole story. These gives us a glimpse of the context the whole story and places the objective of representing political issues within the personal life of Marjane in order to give the story the required credibility. The political scenes after the Islamic revolution are also well displaced through the exploration of Marjane’s life. For example, Police brutality in dealing with the Iranian citizens is well displayed when her friend is shot when he tried to escape during a certain party. In order to show how the rule of the land is being misused and misinterpreted, the government has gone ahead and forfeited any social gatherings and parties. The ruling regime’s nature is further exposed by the man who abuses her mother in a parking lot. After the elections, the results diminish the few hopes held by Marjane’s family when the Islamic Fundamentalists win is a suspicious way. The ruling regime enforces blatant laws and introduces obvious injustices which make the people even more oppressed. His uncle, recently released from jail tries to warn her of the oppressive nature of the system and the price of standing up for the right of the innocent.

In this novel, we could say that, the context is about the Iranian revolution and the governing regime during the 1980’s and 1990’s. The Marjane’s autobiography is just but a means of communicating this information. Basic human rights like partying, drinking beer, listening to your favorite music, clothing and even criticizing the government of its abuses were forfeited. When she returns to Iran, it is also evident on the kind of life people are experiencing in this country as she is forced to spend days doing nothing, but watching television which leads to clinical depression at the long run. It is through her life that we are able to learn about the tyranny in her country which she discovers through the hard way.

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Dream is properly utilized in this novel to express the contradiction between the life Marjane was living and the life she expected to live (Marjane 75). She sees the spirit of Karl Marx, who she believed held the right principles of approaching life and encouraged her from time to time in her dreams. It is through her life where the reader is able to understand the extent of tyranny in this country even in institutions of higher learning. She openly criticizes the university forum for its public morality which is bias against women and religious police which are out to ruin her life. At the end of the day, she just results to her own personal survival tactics by marrying her boy friend in order to avoid scrutiny by the religious police.

This novel and film is one of the most personalized accounts of the life during the Iranian revolution and the Iran -Iraq war. It is simplified by the inclusion of the child’s sense of humor, wonder and frankness in the expression of the brutality experienced by the people of Iran under the Islamic rule.


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