The Complete Persepolis Literary Analysis

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People have tried to attain freedom for at least as long as there is a historical record. It is and always has been something people want, throughout history and today. There are many parts to freedom, although generally it means being able to do whatever one wants, whenever one wants, within reason. In her graphic memoir, The Complete Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi explores her own personal freedom and that of her family through the enforced veil covering women’s hair in Iran, opposed to dressing however she wanted in Europe. Satrapi’s telling of the history of Iran is somewhat skewed. As explained by Esmaeil Zeiny in his essay, before it became compulsory to wear the veil in public, it was illegal to wear the veil; in the middle was some time…show more content…
One of the things Tarlo describes is an image on the first page of the book of the veil being introduced to children in Marji’s school. “A chaotic playground scene reveals just how alien the head scarf was to children from modern educated backgrounds in Tehran whilst at the same time conveying the regime’s incapacity to keep young imaginations in check” (Tarlo, 348). The image depicts a girl pulling her veil off, saying it’s too hot, another girl with her veil over her face pretending to be the monster of darkness, a veiled girl pretending to strangle another girl who is not wearing her veil, a girl jumping rope with several veils tied together, and another girl pretending to ride her friend like a horse, using her veil as a bridle. Despite being forced to wear something most of them didn’t understand, they used their imaginations to have a good time. A more mature way of resisting was to let a few strands of hair show from under the veil. In Tarlo’s words: “The distinction in the streets is no longer between those who cover and those who don’t, but between different styles of covering for women and degrees of facial hair and other more subtle indicators for men” (349). Instead of having the option to not wear the veil to show that they didn’t support it, “modern” women had to be more subtle about their dissatisfaction with the law in place. Men also could not wear short sleeved shirts or neckties,…show more content…
She does this through Azar Nafisi’s Reading Lolita in Tehran instead of Satrapi’s Persepolis, but the subject of her essay applies to both memoirs. In Zalipour’s words, “the diversity of semantics of the veil for Muslim women can be traced not in the religion per se, but in the dominant cultural and social values, beliefs, regimes, or the effect of modernity and westernization” (2). The veil means something different for everyone who wears it. It doesn’t always define the religion of the woman wearing it, but instead reveals her social beliefs and values. In Persepolis, however; when women were forced to wear the veil, how it was worn was more of an indicator of a woman’s values. Marji demonstrated this when her parents returned from Turkey with punk clothes for her. “I put my 1983 Nikes on, and my denim jacket with the Michael Jackson button, and of course, my headscarf” (Satrapi, 131). Under the caption is a picture of Marji wearing her denim jacket and her headscarf. Despite having to cover her hair, she still found ways of expressing her personal values through – albeit illegal – posters, a denim jacket, and a Michael Jackson

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