Pictures combined with words are like two-way mirrors.

Persepolis: The Story of A Childhood isn’t a story that I would voluntarily read on my own. I like comic books, but I don’t read too much of them because it’s a lot going on and I lose interest in them quickly. However, Persepolis can be classified as a novel based on historical events which was focused on true events from a child’s angle. Not only did it shed light on one’s pain and loss, but it shined the light on one’s identity as well.

The author, Marjane Satrapi, shares with readers the struggles and hardships that she encountered during childhood, and the conflict that everyone faced due to the actions of bad politicians. Readers get to see Marji as she grows or “becomes of age”, and how every event that takes place is a stepping stone towards her inner growth. As Marji grows, she experiences things— things that no child her age should experience, which prompts Marji to throw herself head-on into the mix of what’s happening around her. This show of events allows us to see the inner struggle that Marji had to tackle on her own even though there were others her age struggling too.

Persepolis represents the sentimental depths of change in which Marji (and every other child or adult) had to undergo during a time of trouble. Marji is considered a child during these events and childhood is a crucial time for children of Marji’s age. The way a child grows and develops depends on the environment—both internal and external. The environment in which Marji grew up in was no longer an environment that was safe for her development—there were deaths, and people coming and going (friends leaving to safer places). One can imagine how all of these events could alter a child’s viewpoint of the environment around her—it was no longer a “home”.

In the end, readers see Marjane (Marji) bidding farewell to her parents as well as the country she grew up in. In a sense, the ending was Marji’s passage to freedom—a new beginning. Although she “became of age” in her country pretty quickly and experienced things a child should not have, she can now see things a lot differently than others. There’s no wrong way of growth, but there is a wrong in hindering a person’s growth of their inner self.

“Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.” — Viktor Frankl


2 thoughts on “Pictures combined with words are like two-way mirrors.

  1. I like how you reference identity as a central theme and the “stepping stones” Marji takes toward growing up. The events Marji faced in her childhood caused her to grow up very quickly because of the adultness of the events.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I completely agree that the main theme of the story is Marji’s growth. I think one of the things that has a huge effect on her is how inconsistent her parents are. The times were very hard on everyone, so it is understandable, but the turbulence of the outside world was in and of itself very difficult, and facing that at home made life more difficult. Her father goes from mellow to aggressive, her mother from revolutionary to extremist, and so forth. Not only does the situation have the hardness of adulthood, but her parents are treating her as though she is not a child when she still very much is. More understanding and patience could have gone a long way to allow Marji a semblance of childhood, and I feel like she just did not get those things.

    Liked by 1 person

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