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Marjane Satrapi’s Challenging Of Stereotypes In Persepolis

1271 words - 5 pages

In Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel Persepolis, Satrapi states that her goal in writing the book was to dispel many of the hasty generalizations made by the western world about Iran, a principal sentiment being that the country is little more than a nation founded by fundamentalists and home to terrorists and extremists. To combat the misconception, Satrapi enlists the assistance examples of barriers and dissent towards the new conservative regime in Iran from her adolescence. By employing events from her childhood in Iran Satrapi rattles the foundation of the myths and false beliefs assumed by the occident. Satrapi writes that the initial waves of conservative fundamentalism in Iran were met with unified national dissent. To support this claim she employs both personal and familial examples of dissent felt towards the emerging reactionary regime. Satrapi successfully challenges the stereotypes, but limits as to the extent to which she succeeds in doing so could be brought up. A limit one might place on the historical accuracy of her writing is that it cannot truly be taken as historically accurate as a first-person narrative from a child’s perspective, which although persuasive, is biased.
In the exposition Satrapi elucidates as to the significance of her family in Iranian history. She does so when she writes of a conversation she had with her father, in which he states, “The emperor that was overthrown was [her] [great] grandpa” (Satrapi 22). Given the political upheaval in Iran in 1979 one might make the assumption that a scorned ex-royal family might embrace any form of opposition to the regime that removed them from power. However, Satrapi’s family shows nothing but dissent and malaise towards the new regime. By proving one assumption to be unfounded Satrapi aims to challenge all other assumptions about Iran as well.
During her adolescence Satrapi and her family openly defy the extremist government by displaying a lack of devout faith and an unwillingness to support the new regime. She shows this spirit of defiance when she states, “we had everything…that was forbidden. Even Alcohol, gallons of it” (Satrapi 106). Satrapi again shows the disregard her family held for the extremist laws; they held parties and drank alcohol, both illegal actions. Yet again in using her family as an example Satrapi aims to extend the dissent shown by her family to a larger populous, the majority of Iran. Many people would agree that the extension of a small sample size to a larger population is something done often in scientific experimentation and studies, and is therefore a relevant method of argument.
However, some may argue that the extent to which Satrapi can challenge conventional beliefs about Iran is limited by her perspective. Satrapi writes from the first-person point-of-view and a child’s nonetheless. Those same people might argue that when Satrapi is challenging generalizations by using personal examples she is manipulating fact, confusing them...

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