A Literary Analysis of Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

This is the first two opening paragraphs of a work in progress literary analysis of Persepolis by James R. Childers for Santa Monica College Scholars English 2.

To Veil or Not to Veil

How would you feel if someone told said you or a loved one should be slammed up against a wall and fucked?  While growing up during the Islamic Revolution, Marjane Satrapi experienced life during the transition where wearing anything other than a veil welcomes such criticism.  Marjane Satrapi was born on November 22, 1969 in Rahst, Iran and grew up in Tehran.  She is the great granddaughter of one of Iran’s last emperors, author of a graphic novel Persepolis, and a US academy award winner.  Over the course of history the veil has become not only, just an article of clothing but also, a symbol for liberation or suppression, imprisonment or freedom.  Under those circumstances, in Persepolis, Satrapi communicates how a group of Islamic extremist misuse the veil as a tool of oppression in order to control the people – especially woman – for social and political power.


Unfortunately, deep inside Iran’s recent history is the struggle of political leaders allowing their citizens to culturally make their own decisions.  In an article by Zephie Begolo, a human rights advocate, he explains when the Reza Shah Pahlavi took power, with the help of the British, he issued the “Kashfe-e Hejab”  on January 17th, 1936 a law banning the veil in public.  With this law the Reza Shah believed that unveiling woman would help modernize Iran.  It created tyranny for those that did not support unveiling and it became an act of shame even though they were for modernization of Iran including woman’s rights.  Many women and men did not leave their homes, and women attempted to decrease the chance of defamation by going out at night wearing the veil or hejab (“Begolo”).  Overall decreasing their chances of being seen in public wearing a veil and being ridiculed.  These religious individuals are not to be confused with Islamic extremist, manipulating the use of the veil, but similar to American religious communities.  As can be seen by the Quakers, Mennonites, Catholic nuns, Hasidic Jews and some Muslims that wear traditional garments or veils despite living in a modernized societies.

Anyone interested in having a conversation about this subject I encourage you to comment.  I am especially hopeful for any Iranian women currently living in Iran to comment on the social environment you currently live in.  Equally important I encourage your opinions and I do not get offend very easily (even though I hang out with a lot of liberals).  As a recovering Christian I want Christians, Muslims, and Jews all to know that it is OK to leave the church.  With that being said it is OK to stay religious.  The choice is your to make.  However, it is NOT appropriate to force faith on someone else using violence.  Violence is not a global human right.

If anyone University Professors have any suggestions thus far please feel free to contact me here by e-mailing me at childers_james_rober@student.smc.edu.

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