Monday, October 6, 2008


At just a glance I was unsure and felt disinterested in reading Persepolis because I had made an assumption before I ever lifted the book. I learned that making that assumption would have hurt me in the long run for not having read the book. It's the classic "don't judge a book by it's cover" saying that really applied to me in this situation.
I had just assumed by looking at the outside of the book that it was about the second world war holocaust and the Jewish struggle against all odds. I had mentioned in the class discussion that it gave me an Anne Frank feeling. Upon picking it up I was pleasantly surprised to learn that it was the author's personal story about something which I had no knowledge of.
I was very surprised when I opened it to see the simplicity of the drawings and narrative. Right from the beginning it was very easy to follow and it seems like anyone would be able to pick up this book and follow along and understand what is going on. The fact that it is in black and white helps with the simplicity of understanding because the content itself revolves in circles about contrasting meanings and sides. Those who are oppressed and those who oppress, those who are traditional and those who lose tradition because of the influence of another culture; At the same time it deals with hypocritical situations on the part of both sides.
The style alone, however simplistic, says so much to anyone even just looking at the pictures. You can see and feel the emotions that Marjane Satrapi was trying to get across because of the facial expressions and body language used in every situation. Along with this is the use of reversing the black and white whether it be to show night time or day time or features of a character such as eyes that are closed or tears that are flowing.
I am sure that it must have been an ordeal not only to live through all of these situations one time but to have to go back and re-live these things over again in order to present this memoir to the world. Although the style is simple it makes the ideas being put across seem vivid even without the use of any color whatsoever. She presented to us something that actually happened in a way that makes it easy to understand for those who have never been in any situations like what she went through. What she made was only a piece of what was happening and it leaves room for the viewer to use their imagination to add colors or think outside of the small panels used. During an indoor panel with people speaking to one another it might peak the curiosity of the viewer to imagine what was happening outside of the house or down the block or even on the other side of town for that matter.
It was great to read about an experience at that scale through a simple way of showing the events and how they unfolded. Everyone being human can at least relate to certain parts of her tale and take out of it what they will, for better or for worse. Hopefully a work like this will inspire other people to take it upon themselves to either make a physical, graphic narrative like this or if not then just think about their own personal memoirs, just get people thinking and reflecting. It is a great way to find inspiration but at the same time to just maybe learn more about yourself as a human being and ask yourself questions as to why things happened and what you can take out of those events. It is also an eye opener as to the views that people of other backgrounds and cultures have about their own countries and maybe yours as well. If you know people from other countries then ask them, ask them about anything. You might learn a lot that you otherwise would not know just watching the news about situations in other places. Try to learn someone else's view point and put yourself in their shoes.

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