108A TE Fall 2011 discussion

Yummy and American Born Chinese > Thoughts on Persepolis

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message 1: by Veronica (new)

Veronica | 2 comments I was not sure where else to post this but here are my thought on Persepolis:

I loved reading this book. I think that the content, although mature, is really informative. It helps you to understand a moment in history through the eyes of a little girl. What I love most about this graphic novel is the use of black and white images. Most of what Marjane is struggling with is a dual identity in which she wants to be a certain way, but is taught in school to be another. I love how the images serve as a metaphor for wrong vs. right, good vs. evil.

I also really like the character of Marjane. At time she can be very vulnerable and confused and other time brave and determined. It is hard to imagine what it must feel like to live in fear and to worry that your family will be punished for speaking out. I find the book to be sometimes comical and sometimes heartbreaking. I never watched the movie that they made from this book, I have heard from other that it is not very good. However, after I finish reading the book I might want to see for myself.

message 2: by Michael (new)

Michael | 5 comments I am doing my post as a comment because I am having trouble posting my own topic which is "Persepolis: Perspective changing" in our TE group section. I have already posted this twice on goodreads, but it is posted somewhere else for some strange reason.

Like Yummy and American Born Chinese, as I am reading this book I am able to learn about people who have much different life experiences than I did growing up which is really great since I am becoming a teacher and will encounter students with diverse experiences. Although Persepolis is a graphic novel, the content really grabs readers and forces them to think about how they view others. It is easy to judge people from afar as you see in Persepolis and it is also easy to feel bad for others, but all three of the books I have read help readers to try and understand people who are quite different from them. I would have to say I think the visuals are what helped me put myself into the main characters’ shoes. I feel like Persepolis did a great job of illustrating the misunderstandings people can have due to both ignorance and not being around one another. Persepolis constantly shows people in power being disconnected from the civilians who they have power over. Persepolis also shows how civilians create separation amongst themselves due to their closed-minded thinking. Persepolis shows the effects of those who are distanced from others and caused me to think about how I distance myself from people and do not always take the time to learn about things in an objective manner.

message 3: by Sarrah (new)

Sarrah (sarrahdinh) | 5 comments I didn't know what to expect when I first opened this book. All I knew was that a few of my classmates had read it and they all gave it rave reviews. After reading the first half for myself, I would have to agree with them. The content of the book itself is very heavy but the fact that it is written in the form of a graphic novel made it much more understandable.

I myself did not know much about the Islamic Revolution before reading this book. Reading this novel made me feel what Marjane must have felt at the time that this all was happening. It made me feel very sympathetic to her plight and even made me re-think what the people in Afghanistan and Iraq must feel like with the War on Terrorism happening on their turf. To feel that from reading this book is something that is very powerful and very valuable and I could see how an adolescent would benefit from reading this book. A good book is something that can evoke some sort of emotion from the reader and this book certainly did that to me.

What I liked about this book is that it provided many first hand accounts of a significant event in history. What made it even more unique is that it is told through the eyes of a child. The thought and confusion resulting from being a child growing up and witnessing a revolution is something that makes this event more personal. It’s not just something that happened and was recorded in the history textbooks, it was something that directly affected a real person, Marjane, the main character.

As a teacher in training, I recognize that a book like this one is a very valuable teaching tool. Not only could you use Persepolis to supplement a dry history textbook, you could also use it to aid in teaching all sorts of lessons. From lessons in empathy to engaging students in reading itself, Persepolis is a fantastic read and I can’t wait to read the rest!

message 4: by Leslie (new)

Leslie Calvert | 5 comments Out all three graphic novels I read, I liked Persepolis the least. The other books I breezed through but I wasn't able to read this book the same way. It might have been the content or the way it was written but it was just hard for me to read and really get into. The way it was illustrated is less cinematic and story board like than the other stories which could be one of the reasons I do not like it so much. I was a film minor after all. I feel the graphic aspect of this novel is much less utilized and feel I would have gotten the same thing if I read a normal novel, at least so far. I hope that the second half of the story gets better and really utilizes the graphic aspect of the novel.

Although I am not too into the book, I do think this is a great way of learning history. I was never into history also in school and think I would have been more interested in what I was learning if I could learn the information from a) a narrative from the perspective of someone in the situation and b) having a graphic novel to visualize what I was learning about. I am very curious if there are graphic novels for elementary social studies on the market? Would the students be able to get into it and understand that what they are learning is history? I am interested to find all of these things out and possibly test it out in my student teaching classroom if at all possible.

message 5: by Michael (new)

Michael | 5 comments Persepolis: Marji the student

As always, I cannot help but focus on parts in the book that involve school and teachers. The teachers in the book hated Marji, but I consider her to be an ideal student. Ok, so I know she cut school with those two girls, she hit the principal, and made fun of school customs, but she was a questioning young student. She had her own point of view and did not act like a sheep by mindlessly taking in what was taught at school. Seeing the school staff start a blame game between them and parents was hard to see. Parents and school staff should be allies. Then the school in the book pressured boys to join the army. In my opinion, Marji was unfortunately attending a school that was not meeting her needs. I don't think she failed, I think the school failed her. Marji always had great potential no matter what her teacher who thought she was crazy for wanting to become a prophet thinks.

message 6: by Veronica (new)

Veronica | 2 comments Well this is the second attempt to post this since the first one is nowhere to be found. Overall I enjoyed reading this book, it was nice to read it without having to analyze every single graphic. Like I mentioned last time we talked, I think that I was drawn into the book because it was from the perspective of a child. I have always been drawn to coming of age stories and books. Remove the weight of the revolution and you have a coming of age story about a girl who is trying to find her identity. I loved the story lines where she tries to assert her independence by trying her first cigarette or by rebelling and wearing western rock memorabilia. I liked the first book more than I liked to follow up book - although I never saw the movie I was surprised to find that the book was banned in Iran and Lebanon.

message 7: by Sarrah (new)

Sarrah (sarrahdinh) | 5 comments First of all I have to reiterate that I really like this book! So much so that it made me hate how abrupt the ending was. I find that I am really invested in Marji and her family. I am so curious to see what the next book is going to be about. Veronica had mentioned that the sequel to this graphic novel is not as good but I must know what happens to Marji!

Although the backdrop of the story takes place during a significant historical movement (the Islamic Revolution) I can relate to Marji in that I, too, was teenager who defied the norms in my home. Now it may not be as extreme as smacking the school principal but I'd like to think that I see a tiny bit of myself in the main character. The strong-will of Marji is certainly an inspiration to me because I could not imagine doing the things she did and seeing the things she saw while living during a time in which the whole country was unstable. It makes me reflect on the life that I have and how lucky I am to be free to do as I please and conduct myself in any manner that I desire.

This book would be a great way to integrate history, ethics, social studies, and life lessons and would especially be great for kids who feel alienated from their peers. It would be a wonderful tool for young adult readers to learn to have their own opinions and have a positive sense of self.

message 8: by Leslie (new)

Leslie Calvert | 5 comments Sadly I am still not a big fan of this book. I came to the realization that because it is a breakfast to bed kind of story I became bored by all the details of her childhood. I did however find the second half much more amusing and entertaining. There were a lot more funny, and somewhat unbelievable situations such as on page 81 and 98. Another realization I came to while reading this that made it more difficult to read was the fact that the characters were not differentiated enough from one another. A lot of the characters and faces look the same and with the lack of color made it almost impossible for me to follow who was who.

I think by thinking about why this book did not appeal to me, I can make sure that the books I choose to teacher with are interesting/good for my students. I am going to make sure the story has easily differentiable characters, non-breakfast to bed stories, make sure they are relatible to the students and allow them to get into it, and, if it is a graphic novel, that the graphics are being utilized effectively and are easily followed.

As for the story itself, I was extremely surprised by and annoyed by the ending. Why did Marji not confront her parents when she clearly knew they were not moving with her? Why did the author have to end it so abruptly? I really do not like stories that leave me hanging and with questions and this is one of those stories.

The one thing that I actually really did like about this story that I will take away is a quote the grandmother tells to Marji at the end of the book. She says, "In life you'll meet a lot of jerks. If you hurt you, tell yourself that it's because they're stupid. That will help keep you from reacting to their cruelty. Because there is nothing worse than bitterness and vengeance... always keep your dignity and be true to yourself."

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