Identity of Marjane in Persepolis Essay Sample

Identity of Marjane in Persepolis Essay Sample

Identity of Marjane in Persepolis Essay Sample

Persepolis is a comic autobiographical novel written by Marjane Satrapi. Marjane writes about her life from childhood to adulthood during the Islamic revolution in Iran. The novel is about the protagonist’s life and the challenges she faces into adulthood and how these hardships changed her identity. As the main character in the novel, Marjane is depicted as a tough and intelligent girl who followed in her parents footsteps. She was a young Iranian girl who had to overcome great obstacles in her childhood in order to become a great person in future. Marjane grew up in a difficult and complicated setting in Iran where she sees people being killed, bombings, torture and fear.

As the narration begins, Marjane was just a small girl who never took anything serious; she just saw images as cartoons. But, as the story progresses, Marjane grows up and her life and identity begins to change and she changes into a different person from the young naïve girl at the beginning of the story. She begins the narrative when she was at the age of six and she tells of how life was during the Islamic revolution. Marjane explains how she learned to survive in such hardships and this shaped who she become in future because she became very careful and observant on what happens around her and her family (Malek 367). However, she moved out her country and this changed her identity completely. Marjane was confused in her younger years because she never understood who she was and what was going to happen to her and her family. In the search for her identity, she becomes brave, loyal, rebellious, and imaginative on what will happen after, so she moved to Austria at the age of 14. Marjane was forced to leave her country where her family lived in order to escape from the social repression from the government.

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Marjane spent most of her teenage years in Austria and this made her struggle a lot with her identity because, she was an Iranian but growing up in Europe. While in Austria, her identity changed a lot because, she was just an Iranian girl trying to fit in a western country, therefore, she had to learn a lot about the western culture. According to her, Marjane felt more a westerner than an Iranian and this made her go back to her country to find her identity. Her childhood and adolescent identity was affected by the social and political transformations in Iran during that time, thus she terms her adolescent years as years of “lack of identity” (Satrapi 278).

While in Austria, Marjane has multiple identities because, she is an Iranian but living in a western country. In her autobiography, Marjane details how she struggled with two cultures. Marjane struggled with conforming o the western culture because deep inside her, she was still an Iranian who still held onto her culture. According to her, Europe offered her many chances of becoming a “liberated and emancipated woman,” what her country could never offer her and this made her more confused with her real identity (Satrapi 177). In her country, there are things she could never do as a female but while away, she learned things in a different perspective which changed her identity. As a youth, she incorporated herself in a lifestyle of drugs and drug abuse and this changed her real identity.

Marjane is forced to deal with conflicts between her own personal beliefs and the western life and she ends up being more a westerner than an Iranian. In her novel, she reveals events that shaped her life and who she became for instance when she was about to commit suicide. When Marjane left her homeland, she was in her early teens and this is the time her personal identity was undergoing formation. This affected her identity because; the reformulation of her identity was determined by her exile from her homeland and the transition from childhood to adulthood in a different country and foreign culture. Marjane underwent two different transformations of her identity; first when she was a child living with her parents, and when she was away from them and transformed into an adult with a different identity. Marjane’s mother wanted her to be “an independent and well educated woman,” while her grandmother wanted her to never forget her origin as an Iranian. On the other hand, her father and uncle were developing Marjane’s political awareness by telling her about her country and taught her to fight against oppression and putting all this in mind, they gave her different identities. Therefore, when Marjane moved away from home, she had to deny her previous identities and find her own identity, away from the identity the family members had given her. As Marjane shapes a sense of self, she is influences by both identities her family members wanted for her (Malek 360). While in Europe, the Cultural barriers helped her shape her identity even though at times she could deny that she is from Iran.

Satrapi navigates the distance between outside expectations and her own desires in search for her identity. When she was in Europe, her Iranian identity did not assimilate with her European identity. Satrapi never compromised the two identities, nonetheless she wanted to assume only one of the identities and this made her struggle between her own personal beliefs and her new culture in order to shape her sense of self. However, when she went back to Iran, she was more confused with her identities because, she had two identities, the one from her homeland Iran, and the other one she had acquired in Austria. Satrapi felt like a stateless and homeless individual who had no country to belong to because; she was stuck with two identities from different countries. Marjane had to struggle between two identities in order to find a sense of belonging and this leads her into a depression (Davis 270). When she moved back to her motherland, she was a different person from the teen who left her motherland, therefore, it was hard for her to fit in the Iranian community and adapt to the environment. Upon her return to Iran, we see a different woman with a different identity. Despite the danger, she was able to speak openly against the oppression against women in the country because; she had acquired a new identity in Austria whereby she was an empowered woman (Satrapi 298).

In conclusion, Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi is a comic novel that talks about a woman who struggled with her identity from childhood to adulthood. Marjane who is the protagonist in the story had to shape her character and sense of self as she struggled with different identities. The protagonist was born in Iran but se moved to Austria in Europe at the age of 14 and this is when she started struggling with her identity between two cultures. The author writes about her struggles in her country as a child, and how she helped fight oppression after moving back from exile. The main theme in this autobiography is identity whereby the protagonist was searching for her identity which made her more confused, since she ended up struggling between the different identities she had acquired. However, the author was able to explore her identity and make an impact in her homeland and thus showing the readers how a person’s identity can be shaped.

Works Cited

Satrapi, Marjane. Persepolis. London: Vintage, 2008. Print.
Malek, Amy. A Memoir as Iranian Exile Cultural Production: A Case Study of Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis Series”. Iranian Studies 39.3 (2006): 353–380. Print.
Davis, Rocio G. “A Graphic Self: Comics as Autobiography in Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis”. Prose Studies 27.3 (2005): 264–279.

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