Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood

The Gray Area Dialogue: An Analysis of Western Perspective in Satrapi’s Persepolis 12th Grade

The late Ed Koch once said that “stereotypes lose their power when the world is found to be more complex than the stereotype would suggest. When we learn that individuals do not fit the group stereotype, then it begins to fall apart.” In Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, Satrapi recounts her childhood experiences from Iran through words and pictures as she searches for her true identity in the midst of the chaos surrounding her. Yet, beyond this journey of self-discovery, Satrapi exposes a critical dialogue between Iran and the West that she attempts to resolve through her own struggles. Through Satrapi’s stylistic decisions, Persepolis develops a personal connection between the author and the reader and clarifies our misconceptions of the Middle East, providing Western readers with a greater understanding of the Iranian conflict.

Persepolis would not be nearly as impactful without Satrapi’s development of an individual connection with her readers, which she creates through her graphic depiction of violence in the Middle East. Throughout the novel, Satrapi juxtaposes illustrations of torture with panels of her family to highlight the close proximity of violence. For instance, she places a panel of teenage boys setting off landmines...

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