In today's day-and-age, the world has developed into a society of economic strife, governmental issues, and conflicting communities. More often than not, these changes can impact many children across the globe. As children grow up, they begin to lose their innocence as they are exposed to all the insanity of the world. Murder, destruction, and violence are just some of the unfortunate experiences that are extremely prevalent in the lives of some children. These experiences can often cause a detriment to their youth, forcing them to grow up faster and act in a more adult manner. These factors fall into the story of Persepolis. Marjane's parents' decision to have her leave Iran stemmed from the political, religious, and social conflict.
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Persepolis follows the life of Marjane Satrapi and takes place in Iran from 1979 to 1984 during and after the Islamic Revolution. The revolution had taken Iran by storm. Many new reforms and laws were put into place. This prompted the uprising of political, religious, and social conflict. The Shah, the leader of Iran, had set these new laws in order to keep the Islamic religion alive. As a result, bilingual schools were shut down, boys and girls were segregated, and universities were temporarily closed to revise the books. The Shah also ruled that women must wear veils. In a stance against it, Taji, the mother of Marjane, protested. While attending a local demonstration, a photograph of her protesting was taken. This prompted her to disguise herself in order to avoid persecution. Taji also forced Marji to lie, telling her to say that she prayed everyday. This was to keep Marji from getting into serious trouble.
Throughout the beginning of the book, Marji is depicted to be a very religious young girl. God is her close friend and provides her with comfort and friendship. This very sacred relationship is later destroyed following the death of a beloved family member. Marji's uncle Anoosh had come to visit after being released from prison. They get along and are very close up until one day when she comes home from school and cannot find him. She is told that Uncle Anoosh had been arrested. Having only been allowed one visitor, he chose Marji. Upon their unexpected final visit, he gives her another bread swan and they part from each other. This was their last goodbye as Marji later finds out in a newspaper that Uncle Anoosh had been executed. Marji had now lost faith her in God. She believed that He was supposed to be protecting her, yet so much violence had been happening in her country and to her family.
The Iraqi invasion of Iran had prompted a war between the two nations. As fighter jets raced across the sky, a series of bombs and missiles fell from the sky. Many innocent people had been killed. In another attack, Marji's neighbors, the Baba-Levys, had their home bombed and were killed. This led to Marji becoming rebelliously. She no longer fears death because of the simple fact that she could've been killed herself. Thus, she is later kicked out of school. In the book's finale, Marjane's parents decided that it would be best if she had moved to Austria. This idea stems from all the conflict that occurred in Iran upto that point. It wasn't an easy decision, but moving to Austria would be safer for Marji: she would have a better life, receive a better education, and have freedom there.
Ebi and Taji's decision to move their daughter out of Iran and to Austria was a resultant of the religious, political, and social conflicts that occurred. Over the past few years, her family had been subject to a destructive society. One where they had to evade incarceration, had bombs falling from the sky, police brutality, no religious freedom, and death happening all around them. These factors ultimately decided Marji's fate in Iran. Though she will be later reunited with her parents, it is still not easy for Marji to leave them. Her innocence in this world had died and now must grow up at the tender age of 13. Marjane, who now must possess an adult mentality, has to withstand reality on her own.
- Satrapi, Marjane. Persepolis 1: the Story of a Childhood. Pantheon, 2003.