Making a Rebelious Connection

English: Marjane Satrapi

English: Marjane Satrapi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So today I finally finished reading through “Persepolis”. It is an autobiography of Marjane Satrapi as she grew up in Iran during the first Persian Gulf War. We see her grow up from the age of 13 to roughly 25, move between Iran and Austria, get married, move to France, and finally, at the end of the book, get divorced. The book is written as a comic, but with a clear narration from her the whole way through.

I have actually never read a comic book before, so this was a new experience for me. I was pleased that it read much faster than if it had been 341 pages of nothing but text. I also liked that there were tons of pictures on every page. Reading a comic reminded me of when I was her age, I would watch TV with only closed captions because my parents didn’t allow me to watch TV, (that was the only way I could do it without them hearing.) Ironically, that was my way of rebelling, and I was reading about her rebelling against her parents, country, and religion… So that was my strange way of making a connection with her as I read.

I thought it was interesting how pictures could change size, shape, and amount of time that lapsed between the frames, unlike a film. Some of this formatting seemed like it was simply so the text could fit in, but often it helped emphasize what was happening or being said. The one part that stood out to me most was a page where the pictures actually went from top down instead of left to right. I’m not sure why it was done that way because now the part I remember the most is of her trying to pee standing up and it running down her leg.

Overall I enjoyed the book, It was a fun way to get a bit of history. I wish other classes at college could have you learn information in the same way (by reading comics). I probably wouldn’t read it again, but if it comes out on Netflix to stream I’d definitely hit it up.


3 thoughts on “Making a Rebelious Connection

  1. It’s funny, one of the pictures I remember most is the one of her dad standing tall with “boxey” shoulders because of the posters he was carrying. I kept thinking, man, what they went through for her. It seemed to me they went to lengths most parents would not. The image you mentioned about pee running down her leg got my attention too. You know how you kind of scan a page first before starting to read? I did that on the same page and was like, “what is that??” At first I thought it was blood from some strange wound, then I made myself read them in order and laughed. I love that Marjane Satrapi wanted to know what it was like for other people. Peeing standing up, and when she was little she stayed in a bathtub full of cold water for a long time to see what her great grandfather felt while being water toutured. You can tell she cared bout people by those actions. You could also tell what lengths she was willing to go to satisfy her curiosity. Thanks for your take on Persepolis.

  2. First off, welcome to the world of graphic narratives! Now that you’ve read, and appear to have enjoyed reading “Persepolis”, you should look into reading “Maus” (the comic mentioned in the Chute and DeKoven article) and Alan Moore’s “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”. I just read “Maus” this past weekend and found it to be even more enthralling than Satrapi’s “Persepolis”. On the other end of the spectrum, there is the prior mentioned “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” which is much better than the 2003 Sean Connery movie adaptation would have you believe, although this one is entirely fiction, instead of the cartooned depictions of real life events. I, too, really enjoyed how Satrapi used the size of the frame to demonstrate the significance of the content within. For example, my personal favorite example was on page 71 when it shows her floating alone in the universe after she yelled at god to leave her alone, when suddenly the war starts in the universe as well. Do you think these enlarged abnormally artistic frames would count as a cinematographic shot? Food for thought…

    • hmmm, my first thought would be that they are not cinematographic, since that really means moving pictures, but now that you have me thinking, there are some pictures with peoples heads turned both ways or having multiple arms symbolizing movement, so maybe there are some that start to bridge the gap…

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