Sumner C Period discussion

The Complete Persepolis (Persepolis, #1-4)
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message 1: by Jo (new)

Jo | 16 comments p.(19)
Satrapi: “As for me, I love the king, he was chosen by God.”
Dad: “Who told you that?”
Satrapi: “My teacher and God himself.”
Dad: “Come sit on my lap. I’ll try to explain it to you.”
Mom: “Good, explain everything. I’m going to bed.”
Dad: “God did not choose the king.”
Satrapi: “He did so! It’s written on the first page of our schoolbook.”

I chose this selection of panels in the novel because it introduces the dynamics of the characters rather well. It shows the naivety that Satrapi, the protagonist and the narrator of the story, views the world through. It reveals how both the parents choose to react to their daughter in this troubling time. She was born into revolutionary Iran right in the middle of a time of rioting and fighting against the government. This reveals to us how her parents are going to deal with the situation and which parent seems to take more control. Obviously here the father takes the lead as the mother escapes away from the stressful moment. To me at least, this reveals how the setting is affecting their family and how it’s going to shape their family life as the story goes on. It’s just the beginning so it’s one of the first clues about how Satrapi will have to learn to live in this time of chaos.

message 2: by Jo (new)

Jo | 16 comments (p.40-41)
“After Black Friday, there was one massacre after another, many people were killed…The people wanted only one thing: [the king’s] departure! So finally…the day he left, the country had the biggest celebration of its entire history.”

Both of these panels utilize the visual aspect of this novel quite well. The first, dealing with the massacre after Black Friday, depicts the massacred rioters. The panel consists of only body after body lined up one after the other. They are stacked on top of each other, each of the rioters’ faces resembling the others’ completely. Their faces are clearly showing the remnant expressions of those who have been slaughtered, as if etched into their being forever. There’s nothing else in the picture. I think that author Marjane Satrapi used this tactic to portray just how terrible these massacres were. It wasn’t just the government defending itself. There were countless people violently killed. They didn’t even care who these people were, they just cared that they were rioters and nothing else (hence the resemblance of faces and expressions). They turned rioters into victims without thought and this was the result. The second panel dealing with the celebration uses the same sort of tactic. It takes up an entire page with just one panel full of varying faces and genders and expressions. Some have glasses, some have mustaches, some wear zigzags on their shirts and others wear stars. Each of the individuals depicted is truly that: an individual. With the departure of the king, the people gained back their freedom, or at least believed they did. They were a step closer in the least. They were an entire civilization full of different people that all joined together to celebrate the enormity of this event. All these individuals came together on this monumental occasion and had one the biggest celebrations of history.

message 3: by Jo (new)

Jo | 16 comments p. 62
Satrapi: During the time Anoosh stayed with us I heard political discussions of the highest order.
Dad: “It’s incredible. The revolution is a leftist revolution and the republic wants to be called islamic.”
Anoosh: “It’s not important. Everything will turn out fine. In a country where half the population is illiterate you cannot unite the people around Marx. The only thing that can really unite them is nationalism or a religious ethic...but the religious leaders don;t know how to govern. They will return to their mosques. The proletariat shall rule! It’s inevitable!!! That’s just what Lenin explained in “The State and Revolution.”
Satrapi: Sometimes I even told them my opinion: “On TV they say that 99.99% of the population voted for the Islamic Republic.”
Dad: “Do you hear that Anoosh? Do you realize how ignorant our people are? The elections were faked and they believe the results: 99.99%!! as for me, I don’t know a single person who voted for the Islamic Republic. Where did that figure come from?”
I chose this quote because it related back to a lot of what we were discussing in class, especially the ideas of Marxism and such. Additionally, it showed the struggles that the family went through and just how it was such a difficult task just to know whether or not information was true. Even more so, it depicts how the education of the children growing up was iffy because it was beginning to be biased depending on where their information came from and the media could barely be trusted for accurate results. As the war was beginning, it became harder to know what was going on as their oppression grew higher and higher.

message 4: by Jo (new)

Jo | 16 comments On p.71, there is a panel after her uncle had been arrested and executed. It depicts her floating in space with the caption "And so I was lost, without any bearings...What could be worse than that? It was the beginning of the war."
I chose this because of how much it depicts her emotional state just through visual images as the war is beginning. Previous to this panel, all of her friends had fled to America, and many people she had known had been executed and killed. Her life was falling to shambles. Everything being ripped from her life. She was lost. She felt as though there was nothing left for her with no where to go and nothing to find shelter in and no one to take comfort in etc. Additionally it shows how the war is affecting the children that are being forced to grow up in this generation. They're having important adult figures ripped from their lives. Those they know are getting killed left and right. It's forcing them into an environment of fear and caution. They're going to have to grow up with bombs and death and explosion around the corner as just everyday happenings. It's just the beginning of the life of a girl trying to grow up into a life of secrecy.

message 5: by Jo (new)

Jo | 16 comments p. 94-95
Satrapi: "Mom, don't all these dead mean anything to you?"
Mom: "Of course they mean something to me! But we are still living! Our country has always known war and martyrs. So, like my father said: 'When a big wave comes, lower your head and let it pass."
Satrapi: I agreed with my mother. I too tried to think only of life. However, it wasn't always easy: At school, they lined us up twice a day to mourn the war dead. They put on funeral marches and we had to beat out breasts."
This quote exemplifies how the people, specifically this family, are beginning to change their morals. Yes death is in awful thing and is to be mourned, but as Satrapi's mother said, at least they're life. Their daily life had become focused on the fact that at least they haven't been blown up yet. Or at least they have been unjustly gunned down yet. They've learned to just try to shrug off death and war and just try to survive. They can't afford sadness and mourning. However, society still tries to force the mourning on them. They try to justify the wars and humanize them and make the other countries their enemies. But life for theses people has devolved to survival. They can't focus on the death and hatred. They need all the positivity they have because most of its already been ripped from their lives.

message 6: by Jo (new)

Jo | 16 comments "The key to paradise was for poor people. Thousands of young kids, promised a better life, exploded on the minefields with their keys around their necks. Mrs. Nasrine's son managed to avoid that fate, but lots of other kids from his neighborhood didn't."
In this panel. it depicts several small figures seemingly flying through the air as if from an explosion. Around their necks, each of them adorns a key on a chain. As the quote hinted to, these boys had been forced into war through the means of a sort of hypnotism. The government convinced them that the afterlife was better and that the key around their neck would allow them into heaven. The boys would all then march into war blindly, greatly looking forward to their deaths. This just is an another example of how their society is crumbling. They've devolved to using lies and trickery to get children into war, even though in reality, they never even had a choice. The children are losing their innocence the moment they are born into this society and society's the one taking it. It basically just shows how there is a dictatorship forming in this country and it's slowly getting worse. It is only a glimpse of the oppression to come.

message 7: by Jo (new)

Jo | 16 comments "Naturally, the regime became more oppressive. In the name of that war, they exterminated the enemy within. Those who opposed the regime were systematically arrested...and executed together. As for me, I sealed my act of rebellion against my mother's dictatorship by smoking the cigarette i'd stolen from my uncle two weeks earlier. It was awful. But this was not the moment to give in. With this first cigarette, I kissed childhood goodbye. Now I was a grown-up."
This is a key change in Satrapi's character. She's now literally decided that her childhood is over before she is even a teenager. She's lighting up and smoking away the remnants of her childhood, or at least what was left of it, blowing it out into the wind. As she said, it was awful and uncomfortable, but she's going to fight. This could be a foreshadowing to Satrapi's character standing up to future enemies, such as the government or something. Unfortunately, this choice was probably the difference between survival and death. If she decided to stay naive and childish in this time of war, she would have easily fallen to her enemies through their clever tricks and snares. But now, as an official adult (in her mind), she will take no more of their games. Reality has awoken within her. And she's ready to fight it.

message 8: by Jo (new)

Jo | 16 comments Satrapi: At the committee, they didn't have to inform my parents. They could detain me for hours, or for days. I could be whipped. In short, anything could happen to me. It was time for action. "I'm sorry ma'am! I'll never do it again..."
Committee Woman: "Get in the car!"
Satrapi: "My mother's dead. My stepmother is really cruel, and if I don't go home right away, she'll kill me!"
Satrapi: "She'll burn me with clothes iron! She'll make my father put me in an orphanage!" Maybe she believed me, maybe she just pretended to. But, miraculously, she let me go."
This is a key moment in Satrapi's character development. Here we see her resorting to lying about crucial things just to stay safe, because that's simply what she must do for survival. The oppressive government is forcing their people to an instinct-based like society. Everyone's just trying to survive. From here, it makes one wonder whether or not the society will unite under this oppression or be forced into a dog-eat-dog world. But we see Satrapi falling victim to this idea, forced to tell lies just to stay alive. Just as in the last quote about her childhood being smoked away through a cigarette, she's standing up. She's not going to be pushed around by the world. She's going to stand up to it and fight it as much as she can. Sadly, she's just using the skills her society is forcing her to learn.

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