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Persepolis Study Guide sample essay


1. Satrapi is trying to dispel the stereotypical image that all Iranians are fundamentalists, extremists, or terrorists. 2. The author’s two motives for writing the book are to dispel the stereotype and to honor the memory of those who fought for freedom and died.

“The Veil”

1. The novel begins in 1979. 2. The two outcomes of the Islamic Revolutions were the shutting down of bilingual schools, and the girls had to wear veils. 3. The children dislike the veil; they don’t understand why they have to use it so they take it off or use it to play. 4. The new regime made boys and girls go to different classes, they were not together anymore. 5. The veil symbolizes religion and the power the new “king” had over them. 6. The bilingual school symbolized capitalism of decadence. 7. Women did have a response to the veil, they didn’t like it. Most women shouted “freedom” and that makes us think the veil was a form of dictatorship. 8. There was a picture of Marjane’s mother taken by a journalist and this was because she was in a protest against the veil and the new dictatorship. It was shown around the world to see what was happening there. Her mother got scared and therefor changed her hair color and wore dark glasses for a long time. The reason behind this is that if the dictator knows who this person is then he might do something against her and her family.

9. In the picture on page 6 there is a girl who has half the veil on and half being avant-garde. It represents the conflict she has with being religious and being modern. Deep inside she is religious but she can’t express it the way she wants to because of modern times, they are different. 10. When marji was six she decided to be a prophet, and was convinced she was the last one. 11. Marji wanted to be a prophet to have equal rights, for example her maid sitting with them, because her father had a Cadillac, and above all, because her grandmothers knees ached. 12. Zarathustrian was the first prophet of her religion, and his three rules where, behave well, speak well, and act well. 13. Marji has had various encounters with God himself. She spends hours talking to him about her decision of becoming a prophet.

14. The theme of Marji’s rules seem to be the equality of people, she tell her grandma that she wants everyone to have a Cadillac, she wants the maid to seat with them and many others reasons. 15. The answer she gave t her grandmother reveals that she doesn’t know how to make her biggest wish true, she just wants it. 16. Other boys and girls laughed at Marji’s decision to become a prophet, while her teacher called her parents because she thinks they should be worried. 17. Marji tells her parents she wants to be a doctor instead of telling them she wants to be a prophet because she wants that to be kept secret. 18. Marji wants to implement three attributes of God in her rules, one to have justice, secondly she wants love a, and lastly she wants the wrath of God in all. I think that these represent her wish of equality and it also represents how strongly she believes in religion.

The Bicycle

3. They were three revolutionaries and this is important because she was in the middle of a revolution 4. Children reflect the political realities of the world because they to act like Che, Fidel and Trotsky inventing a revolution of their own 5. The simile is the bicycle because it represented freedom since you can go almost anywhere with a bike 6. The metaphor was that the Persians have been under the rule of many different 7. Persians faced oppression from their own emperors, the Arab invasion from the west, the Mongolian invasion from the east, and modern imperialism. 8. Rezai, Dr. Fatemi and H.Ashrap were all revolutionaries from Iran. 9. Dialectic materialism was Marji’s favorite book.

10. Marx and Descartes were characters in the book of Dialect Materialism and Descartes believed that the material world didn’t exist and Marx didn’t believe so. 11. Books shape the public sentiment because they enlightened people to new ideas. 12. The picture on pg. 13 is ironic because she is comparing Marx a human to a god. 13. Marji’s relationship with god begins to change because she starts to ignore him and it seems like if she doesn’t want to be a prophet anymore and gods come to ask her about this and she just wants to change the topic and she also leaves him out now.

14. The Rex cinema was burned down and the police and firemen didn’t respond on purpose and they blamed the revolutionaries for the fire and this was bad because it would make the revolutionaries like criminals. 15. The image on page 15 shows the people in the Rex cinema burning to death and not being able to escape. 16. After Marji asks that to god if she looked like Che Guevara, god left because she was now ignoring him. 17. Marji’s underlying motive to join her parents in the demonstration is that she wants to be a revolutionary like Che Guevara and she wants to actually stand for her believes.

The Water Cell

18. On pg. 18 we see how the revolution is going on and that it’s getting more violent because people are getting shot. Also the soldiers are dressed in black like if they were death squads. 19. Marji’s parents find her request to play monopoly humorous because they are thinking about very serious stuff and they cannot just go on playing a game while a revolution is going on also the game is about properties and gaining money. 20. According to Marji god chose the king. Her rational was that it said so on the first page of her schoolbook. Her father said that that’s what they say because he knew what really happened and wanted her daughter to know the truth. 21. The two contrasting views of the Republican ideal were that some interpreted it as Gandhi in India (non-violent) and other as Ataturk in Turkey (more religious). 22. Reza differ from Gandhi and Ataturk because he was an uneducated general unlike Gandhi who was a lawyer and Ataturk who was a leader of men. 23. Reza’s initial political motive was to overthrow the emperor and establish a republic.

He later trades the oil from his country to British in exchange of British help to get him to become emperor and not a republic like he wanted before. He does it because he fells good about it and is uneducated. 24. A puppet government is a government that is controlled by a foreign nation but a has a country native figure “running” the government. The real emperor of Persia was Britain. Another example of a puppet nation could be Nicaragua when it was under Somoza because the US put Somoza as president to assure their alliance with Nicaragua and to maintain it against communism during the cold war. 25. Marji learns that the emperor that was overthrown by Reza was her mom’s grandfather. This adds to the conflict because now Marji is more related to the revolution that’s going on because its against the Reza bloodline that overthrew her own.

26. The image at the bottom of pg. 22 shows that under the grandpa of Marji Persia was peaceful and free but then came represented as a lion or a violent figure and that it took over the good peaceful emperor and then changed everything to his ways which were more violent. Now she’s got a positive view about the monarchy because her grandfather was part of one. 27. The four things that happened to the emperor family was that all he owned was confiscated, also he was sent to jail, he was put in a cell full of water for hours and was forced to work for the regime. 28. The new government role that Marji’s grandfather took was to be prime minister of Reza. He later started to meet intellectuals since now he wasn’t a prince and he started studying Marx and communism because he was disgust that people were condemned to a bleak future by their social class. 29. Marji’s mother revealed in the flashback that her father was in prison and that he was in very bad conditions and that all his life was in pain. Marji’s father said that that is past because probably he didn’t want Marji to hear anymore of this. 30. I think that god return after a very long absence because he saw that now Marji needed him for guidance.


31. Marji’s grandmother initial response to questions about the past was that she tried to change the topic but later told Marji that is was very hard for all the family because they lived in poverty. 32. The strength of using cartons to tell the story is that you can see the cartoons emotions but the limitation is that you can only take their reactions in one way because you cannot use your own imagination that much. 33. Shah’s rule compared to Reza was ten times worse and he never kept his promises unlike all the leaders before him. 34. At the bottom of pg. 27 is symbolic because he looks very honest and good but it’s ironic because he ends being one of the worst emperors.

35. Cyrus the Great was one of the ancient emperors of Persia and he was so important because during his reign Persia was THE superpower of the world and the one of the largest empires of all time. 36. Marji’s father took pictures of a demonstration and this made Marji’s mother nervous. This activity was forbidden because it demonstrated the violence that was committed by the government. 37. What happens when a second dead man is carried out on a stretcher during a demonstration is that revolutionaries were calling him a hero and a martyr and it was ironic because he died of cancer and not because of the revolution. 38. What happens next that surprises Marji and amuses her family is that the widow then also starts saying that the king murdered her husband.

The Letter

39. Ali Ashraf Davishian was an author. He wrote about the work of the poor at young age. 40. Marji feels ashamed because she has a Cadillac and a maid while she is reading of children at young age that are already working for hours. This is connected to the revolution because the revolution is about social-classes and she is in the higher social classes than most of the people that are revolting. 41. Mehri was Marji’s maid. She joins the family because her parents couldn’t take care of her and gave her to Marji’s family. Marji view her as a good friend and Mehri saw Marji as her sister. 42. Marji helps Mehri for six month by writing all the letter to her neighbor who Mehri liked because Mehri couldn’t read and write. 43. The new of Mehri’s clandestine affair reached Marji’s father because Mehri’s younger sister who worked for one of Marji’s uncle also fell in love with the neighbor but she was jealous and told Marji’s uncle about it who later told Marji’s father.

The outcome was that the father clarified to the neighbor that Mehri was their made and not her daughter. He told this to the neighbor because he believed that their love was impossible because they were from different social classes. 44. Marji’s was confused about the break up because she knew that it was wrong that people couldn’t be married just because they were born to different social classes because it wasn’t their fault that they where born in that family so she decided to go with Mehri to the revolution. 45. On black Friday a lot of people were killed because of the revolution but Marji learned it was their own who attacked them. 46. The irony in the picture of pg. 38 is that Marji and Mehri are out their yelling in the street for revolution but if the revolution succeeds Mehri wont probably work for them anymore since this is a revolution about social classes.

The Party

47. The symbolism on pg. 40 is that you can see in the Shah’s follower’s faces that they are also getting tired of him and want him out. Also by the top picture we can see that hundreds of people are dying but the Shah is still calling for democracy, which doesn’t make sense. 48. To appease the people he tried many different prime ministers to help him but he didn’t like any of them so he failed. 49. The picture on pg. 42 differs from that of pg. 40 because now everyone is happy because the Shah was gone unlike in pg. 40 in which they were all suffering. 50. The US changed its public policy towards Iran because before they were closed friends with the Shah but now they wouldn’t accept the exile Shah in the US. 51. Anwar Al-Sadat is the president of Egypt and he offer refuge to the Shah because they had been friends for a long time and they both betrayed countries of the region to make a pact with Israel. 52. According to Marji’s dad the Middle East will never have peace because of its oil.

53. What contributes to Marji’s anger and confusion when she return to school is that now the teacher is telling them to rip all the photos of the Shah of their books and before the teacher said the Shah was chosen by god. 54. Marji’s neighbor made up that am spot on the cheek she had was from a bullet and this shows that now everyone wants to say they were part of the revolution so that they are seen as good and heroic. 55. Marji and her friends want to attack Ramin because his father was in the secret police of the Shah and is supposedly said that he killed millions. This behavior can be seen in Nicaragua because many people say that the President Daniel Ortega is an assassin and many people want him dead. 56. The two lessons that Marji learn from her mother are that she has to do justice and learn to forgive. 57. Ramin believes his father is not a murderer because he says that his fathers murdered communist and communist are evil. His comment reflect the attitude of other children because this is what their fathers make them believe when they know they did something wrong.

The Heroes

58. 3000 political prisoners were released after the Shah stepped down from power. 59. According to Laly her father Saimak was on a trip. What Marji responded was that generally when someone was told to be on a trip it was that they were dead. 60. What Marji learns about the truth is that it’s sometimes hard to accept and that no one will accept the truth. 61. Saimak and Mohsen had been in prison for the last several years for speaking against the government. 62. What united the prisoners was the prison because they all got to know each other and they lived together through their most horrible experiences in life. 63. The CIA led the training in torture practices.

64. On pg. 51 Marji looks very disturbed by the stories of prison and her response was that she didn’t knew that appliances such as an iron could be used for torture and that it was a good thing that Laly’s father wasn’t killed in prison. 65. After Marji and Laly learn the truth Marji admitted she was wrong about Laly’s father trip and Laly says that her father was a hero and she was still kind of mad at Marji for thinking he was dead. 66. According to Marji someone who was a hero was someone who survived prison.

67. The war corrupted the innocence of children like Marji because they are learning about all this tortures and they get affected in their minds and start playing dangerous games that include tortures. 68. The ethical dilemma that Marji faces was that before her mother believed that people should be forgiven but now she wants revenge against the torturers so this confuses Marji. My opinion about justice is that people who do wrong should be punished by putting them in prison but their shouldn’t be any death sentences because only God has the right to take life away and not us. 69. Now that the revolution was over Marji decides to abandon her comic trips and go back with god.


70. What motivated Marji lie about her father was that she wanted her father to be seen as a hero. I think this behavior is normal because anyone wants to make their fathers look like the best father in the world. 71. Anoosh was Marji’s father’s brother and Marji likes him a lot because he was in prison so she saw him as a hero. 72. Fereydoon was an uncle of Marji’s father, and his goal was to free Iran province by province. 73. Anoosh abandon Fereydoon because Shah’s soldiers surrounded him and he could do nothing about it. 74. Anoosh later went to his father’s house. I would characterize him as smart because if he would’ve stayed and died all hi movement would’ve been lost but with him alive he could start again with the freedom of Iran. 75. Anoosh’s fathers reaction to his return was that why he had come and didn’t stay with his uncle and this was because he didn’t like what his son was doing since he was a follower of the Shah.

76. Anoosh had to leave so quickly after his arrival because he knew the police was looking for him so he went to the USSR. 77. Fereydoon was visited by his wife before his execution and the condition was permitted because his wife paid the guard. 78. I learned that mothers in Iran who were unmarried were shunned and lived like in hell. 79. Anoosh studied Marxism-Leninism in the USSR. Marji’s response to her uncle shows that she knew about that topic. 80. What Anoosh reveals about his past was that he got divorced and he says that Russians don’t know how to love. 81. The picture at the top of pg.60 is symbolic because it shows that you can always depend in your family and that you will never stop to think about them.

82. Anoosh attempts to leave his old life by getting a fake passport and disguise to try to get back in to Iran but he failed because he was recognized and was sent to prison for 9 years. 83. What caused Anoosh to suffer most in his life was his wife because he didn’t receive any love from her. 84. Anoosh primary motive to share his story with Marji is that he doesn’t want the family memory to ever be lost. 85. The gift that Anoosh gives Marji is a duck made out of bread, which he made in prison. It symbolizes freedom because ducks can fly and go anywhere and he escaped prison and now is free like a duck. 86. Marji’s conflict at the beginning of the chapter reaches a resolution because she now learned that she has heroes in her family and that’s what she wanted. The underlying theme is Marji’s definition of a hero in this chapter.

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