How have the past and present contributed to marjanes identity and what are possible future effect?
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Throughout the novel, Marjane feels a tension between the great and glorious past of the Persian Empire and the violence and problems of modern Iran. In the novel's opening chapters, she identifies herself with the great prophets of the past dating back to Zarathustra. She imagines herself as a symbol of love and tolerance. When the Iran-Iraq War begins, she vehemently defends it as a just cause and relates it to a 1400-year conflict that has been waged between the Arabs and the Persians.
This unwavering belief in the past is put in tension with the novel's present day political intolerance and religious fundamentalism. Marjane's pride in her history is in direct conflict with the imprisonment of political revolutionaries and, later, the execution of those that speak out against the strict cultural demands of the Islamic regime. Marjane's journey through the novel is an exploration of how one can love one's past while denouncing its present condition.