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Jun—Persepolis (2016) > Culture shock

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message 1: by Lily (last edited Jun 03, 2016 02:49AM) (new)

Lily (inquisitorlily) I'm really loving Persepolis so far and the thing I identify with most is Marjane's culture shock regarding her traditional upbringing and the secular Western world. My family was very conservative as well, so when my mum decided to stop homeschooling us and throw us [me and my three siblings] into the American public school system, it was a change I kind of had trouble adapting to. So did the school--they didn't want me in a standard classroom (as opposed to being kept apart from the other students with other disabled students) and they let me know it, much like the nuns Marjane stays with in France.

...And I was living in the US in 2001. Like Marjane, there was just stuff going into school--once the adults were done subtly bullying me and my parents fought back--that I didn't know that all the other kids took for granted. I just identified with Marjane's desire to fit in very, very strongly. There are certain topics conservative cultures won't touch with a ten-foot pole. It's really hard striking a balance between what is safe, healthy and right for you and where you come from.

I guess what I'm curious about is did that theme resonate with anyone here as well? :D


message 2: by Julie (new)

Julie (jyholt) | 3 comments I totally get your feeling of culture shock in the book. It can be a big change going from a suppressed country to a western culture. It's especially hard to find your voice when you are in those types of situations because not only are you trying to see where you fit in but you are also trying to figure out who you are and what you will stand for. It is very easy to lose yourself when trying to fit in which is what I felt happened to Marjane several times in the book.
I have been thrown in several situations like that before so I know how easy it is to lose yourself and what you stand for when you are trying to fit in. And that is what resonated with me pertaining to Marjane's culture shock.


message 3: by Lily (new)

Lily (inquisitorlily) I didn't identify with her feeling of a culture shock (mostly as I haven't ever really experienced one myself),..."

I went from an evangelical Christian household to kids--being kids--naturally cussing every day, talking about dating... It was a serious shock to my system in the beginning, but because I was an outsider I learned how to embrace the viewpoints of others without judging them. Sorry if this post is incoherent, I was up all night reading the book and finished it this morning.


message 4: by Sandra (new)

Sandra | 266 comments my first experience of culture shock came when i was 21, moved out of my parents' house in the conservative midwest, and lived w/ 3 others (sister and 2 friends) on the beach in so. california. my dad had told me not to move, that people were the same all over. well, not in the 60's on the beach! it was like stepping out of my car into an entirely different world. values, morals, dress, expectations, even some of the language was different. while i participated to a certain extent, inside i was an acute observer for much of the time. it was fascinating and terrifying at the same time!


message 5: by Imaan (new)

Imaan | 21 comments I moved from England to the Middle East at the end of year5 so most of the other kids had already formed their friendship groups. Then in secondary school I constantly feel like an outsider to everyone else and miss my old school in England so much- not to mention the cultures are completely different! Anyone else been/is in a similar situation?


message 6: by Sascha (new)

Sascha | 391 comments Lily wrote: "I'm really loving Persepolis so far and the thing I identify with most is Marjane's culture shock regarding her traditional upbringing and the secular Western world. My family was very conservative..."

The way I have understood it, the situation for Marjane Satrapi is much more complex. Because it's not just a change from "traditional culture" to the "modern world" but Marjane's family is indeed a very modern, secular family who lives in a traditional society dominated by religion. So Marjane grew up in a secular, liberal and progressive family who even fought for revolutionary change and emancipation in Iran - but the social surrounding, that means: public life, school,... is dominated by an oppressive, religious system. That's quite an ambivalence.

And I think the real "culture shock" for Marjane was her experience as a young refugee. She left all her friends and family and everything else behind her and moved on her own to a new country with other rules and another social fabric. It was an experience of alienation for her and she simply felt lonely. That's the kind of "culture shock" Marjane has experienced, the way I have read it. And this has not so much to do with "tradtion" versus "modern world".


message 7: by Lily (new)

Lily (inquisitorlily) Sascha wrote: "Lily wrote: "I'm really loving Persepolis so far and the thing I identify with most is Marjane's culture shock regarding her traditional upbringing and the secular Western world. My family was very..."

Good point, Sascha!


message 8: by MeerderWörter (new)

MeerderWörter | 2388 comments I think it is very well explained in the book what was a shock for her. And believe me, even I, who I grew up here in Austria, am/was sometimes still shocked about the way my classmates behave(d). The language they use and how they think about gender and sex... It's a pity. But still, I think she has withstood the shock quite well.

Let's say: What is now common in Iran was common in Austria 80 years ago.

(Sorry if that's rubbish, but sometimes English is still difficult for me.)


message 9: by Ezgi ☕️ (last edited Aug 05, 2016 05:52AM) (new)

Ezgi ☕️ | 7 comments I understand her- vividly. When I first move to the USA, our language instructor told us: "Now you are going through a "cultural shock"- that was the first time I heard this word and didn't believe her because I was fine. I missed my country, but did not feel the cultural shift. It hits you slowly... She also said "For the people who will stay in this country, your cultural shock will never end. You will not feel totally at home here, but when you go back to your country (for vacation, visit...) you will not feel at home there either. You will see the changes between these two cultures and relive it all your lives.

Moving to a new place is adventurous, but the cultural shock is like a persistent virus in your emotions...


message 10: by MeerderWörter (new)

MeerderWörter | 2388 comments I can definitely relate to that. I have met many people who migrated from another country and are first-generation migrants. For them, it's the hardest, I think.


message 11: by Lily (new)

Lily (inquisitorlily) Ezgi wrote: "I understand her- vividly. When I first move to the USA, our language instructor told us: "Now you are going through a "cultural shock"- that was the first time I heard this word and didn't believe..."

Ezgi, I definitely understand what your teacher meant. Now that I'm away from home I'm actually experiencing that firsthand.


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