09 April 2012

Even in the Midst of Despair, Be Yourself

Easy to say but hard to do! Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi is the story based on the comic of a young Iranian girl, struggling to be herself among the tragedies that surround her life. The movie narrates her story since she was young and the process in which Iran was transformed during the revolution. Marji was growing up in a normal environment until everything in Iran began to change due to the war. Their lifestyle in the community, schools and almost anywhere they went, changed greatly to a point where they had to limit themselves with the fear of being killed if they disobeyed. Marji’s uncle was arrested, she witnessed various threats from government officials toward her family and she felt that her teachers at school were controlling their education in erroneous ways. Marji tried to follow the rules as best as she could but she had within her a conscience that would sometimes get her into trouble. Her parents sent her off to France in hopes of her pursuit of a free life outside of the strict Iranian government. While in France Marji finds love, friends and has a new lifestyle which does not last her too long before she ends up living on the streets and returns to Iran time after. In Iran, Marji’s life takes another twist where she gets married and after some time discovers that she is unhappy resulting in her divorce. She is encouraged to return to France once again to avoid the authorities who would target her. Marji’s grandmother who had always advised her in her decisions since she was young, died right after she left Iran. The movie ends with Marji back in France intending to begin a new life in memory and with the advice that her grandmother and uncle always gave her. 
Marjane Satrapi’s autobiography is very influential and gives a realistic view from someones personal experience throughout the Iranian revolution. Similar to the autobiographical comic Maus: A Survivor’s Tale by Art Spiegelman, where a traumatic even inspired the comic, Satrapi seems to have released much of her frustrations in her comic as well. Telling their stories just as they lived them allowed for both of these authors to make a successful comic that in my opinion touched the hearts of all people who have at least heard of the terrible experiences people had during these times. These autobiographies inform the reader of realistic events that marked the history of these countries but more than that, they captivate the reader with their life stories and their personal struggles throughout those journeys.       

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