Friday, April 26, 2013

The Complete Persepolis By Marjane Satrapi

Persepolis isn't just an ordinary graphic novel -next to American Born Chinese- is the greatest graphic novel that ever been written. What makes it even more interesting, is that is an autobiographical graphic novel of the author’s childhood and mid- adulthood.

 In the first few pages, 9 year old, Marjane begins by introducing her earliest recollection of her childhood experiences and the challenges that come from living in Iran during the Islamic revolutionary of 1979. At this age, Marjane already had an image of what she wanted to become in the future. She dreamed of becoming “A Prophet”. She was an outspoken, precocious and fearless child. Thought she was very young, she was still well aware of the political disputes and riots that form in her city and country. She rebelled against the Cultural Revolution because of its limitations of freedom. One thing that she disliked was wearing “the veil”, at this point; she didn't realize the importance and significance of it. In the second part of the series, the war situation in Iran worsens and Marjane is sent to Austria for her high school years, which meant that Marjane was going to have the freedom that she always desired; however, too much freedom can sometimes make things worse.
Marjane Satrapi is an Iranian born French cartoonist, illustrator, animated film director and Children’s book author. In Persepolis, not only was she the narrator of her own story, but she also drew most of the comic strip images. Her black and white comic strips with little text, made the whole series more easily to understand and follow.

There are many themes and discussion topics (Coming Age, Historical content of the wars between Iran and Irag, Love, Death, and many more) that could be explored in these series that would really benefit high school students in an English class. It has a Historical context, but I really don’t see it being taught in a High School history class.

In this short interview video, Marjane Satrapi gives a more descriptive detailed of the meaning of Persepolis and the similarity and differences with her actual childhood experiences.

In 2007, Persepolis was made into an animated film, which won several international awards .Satrapi was the director of this film. Here is short clip of the trailer:

Recently, there has been a few controversial issues whether or not Persepolis should still be taught in High school English classes because of its historical content of the Islamic revolution.


Renee Thornton said...

I have heard so much about this book and I've seen the trailers for the animated film, now that I have read your review I am definitely interested in reading this. You mentioned that there is controversy over whether or not this should be taught in school...In my opinion if there is controversy over it that usually means it is absolutely worth studying. Anything that causes people to think about things they haven't had access to before is worth studying.

JessicaGeelen said...

I really enjoyed this book when I read it a few years ago. It was the first graphic novel I ever read and it definitely altered my preconceived ideas about what kind of stories are told through graphic novels.

I'm glad you included that link at the end about Lane Tech banning this book. I think many people believe that schools don't ban books anymore, or at least not significant modern books. However this is a huge issue that is important to look at and expose students to.

Zak Q said...

Persepolis is fantastic. Following Satrapi's coming-of-age journey from young child into self-aware young woman was truly one of the best graphic novel experiences I've ever had. It holds value not only in its ability to show how growing up was much different (and much the same) for a kid from somewhere else, but also as a history lesson. Satrapi chronicles the Iranian Revolution in an extremely interesting fashion, and shows life under a fundamentalist regime with equal skill.

When I heard the controversy surrounding Persepolis, my first thought was, "Have they even read it?!" It's a story that stands firmly against intolerance. That, combined with the valuable "insider history" lesson it provides, merits a place inside any library or English classroom.

Vincent Restivo said...

One thing I was wondering after reading this review was what is the difference between Persepolis and the complete Persepolis?

Other than that I agree with you review it is an excellent graphic novel if a bit lacking at times in regards to how much of the story is told through pictures as opposed to words, although she is a talented drawer. I had no idea there was a film based on this graphic novel so the trailer you included definitely got me once again interested in this nice little graphic novel.