Dear Mr. Schroeder,
Reading an insightful novel set in the Iranian revolution, Persepolis, I have made note of the ways the author has shown the way the revolution has shaped the characters, especially the main protagonist, in the revolution. I would like to show you my observations through this letter. The story starts with the main character of the story, Marji, who was forced to go to a new school where girls were separated from boys. This separation made her experience loss and confusion and as protests and demonstrations began. These demonstrations and protests directly affected her family as her mother participated in them and was taken a photo of, by a German journalist, leading her mother to dye her hair to disguise her identity.
As one of her first exposures to the revolting Iran, Marji was shown to be proud of her mother and at first did not understand these actions. Marji’s opinions about these events soon changed as her parents participate in more protests, which piqued her interest in the revolution and asked to go along with them. However, she was declined and sent to bed, in which she talked with her imaginary friend “God”.
It is shown that Marji is quite introvert, as in many scenes she does not speak her true thoughts. ‘Marji’s Father: Why didn’t you tell us anything?’ (Satripi 37) And, one of the strongest pieces of evidence is the fact that she talks with “God” about many things she would not tell her family. ‘Marji (To God): No, no, I will be a prophet but they mustn’t know.’ (Satripi 9)
She learns about her grandfather’s past through conversation with her parents. Marji took a long bath to understand what it felt to be shut in a cell filled with water, showing her empathy towards her grandfather. Throughout the story, she was shown to be very empathetic towards different tragedies and people. She is fairly mature and understanding, shown in her strong awareness of adults, their lies to protect her and the world around her.
An event that shows this is her awareness of the social classes in her society: Marji wrote love letters on behalf of the maid in her house, who fell in love with her next door neighbor. She later on learned that the maid, Mehri, was not allowed to marry the boy next doors because of their social class differences. ‘Marji: The reason for my shame and for the revolution is the same: The differences between social classes.’ (Satripi 33) This made Marji angry as she thought about the way her society worked.
As Marji’s family members leave one by one (either death or migration), she listens to cruel and violent stories of others and admires them for experiencing it. Though Marji does not realize the cruelty of these events, it changes her point of view of the world, making her more and more pessimistic.
Marji is particularly sensitive about people leaving on trips without much notice, or leaving on a long trip where they won’t come back. She assumes the person who left is dead when she is told that “they’re gone on a trip”. ‘Marji: Don’t you know that when they keep saying someone is on a trip it really means he is dead? (Satripi 48)’ As she becomes more and more pessimistic about things, she becomes more introvert and her personality darker. These are the things I noticed about the characterization of Marji in Persepolis.