Analysis of Persepolis Page 51-52

Context: Siama, Laly’s father, was just released from prison, and Siama is telling Marjane his experience in jail.

The clearer version of the picture is in the link here.

These two pages outline the inhuman punishments performed on the prisoners and the effect of these punishments on young Marjane through the use of boarder-less panel, specific content, and the protagonist’s monologue.

Satrapi uses a boarder-less panel depicting the brutal punishments performed on Ahmadi, a guerilla who was arrested before he could use the cyanide to suicide. The fact that Ahmadi was unable to even perform the action of suicide highlights the danger and possible threats that might fall upon the Iranian people at that time, further explaining reasons behind Marjane’s frightening, disturbing reaction to the war in Iran. The boarder-less panel signals the many different ways the victim could be punished, expanding the reader’s thoughts beyond the three types of punishments listed in the drawing, suggesting the amount of suffer war brings to the soldiers.

On the top right panel, Satrapi includes a picture of Ahmadi cut into pieces to compare the cruel truth brought by war that the innocent Marjane is facing at this young age. The innocence of the narrator could be seen through the form in which the victim is presented, cut with sharp edges but remains a concrete human shape, suggesting the inability of Marjane to visualize a more brutal way of cutting people. This reflects the dramatic effect of war on Marjane as she is exposed to the violence of war in her childhood. Additionally, the victim is drawn hollow and boneless, symbolizing the severe aftereffects of the inhuman punishments that is a result of war in Iran, addressing the effect of the 1979 Iran revolution.

The effect of war on Marjane is more distinctly presented through the use of Marjane’s monologue. In the bottom panel on the left of the page, Satrapi records Marjane’s thoughts using emotional expressions such as “never imagined” and “appliance for torture”, signaling the huge amount of shock brought to the protagonist and revealing how Marjane is forced to accept the violent image of using an iron for punishment. The juxtaposition of “appliance” and “torture” enhances the ironical feeling in the passage, communicating Satrapi’s criticism towards the punishments used in the revolution, and, more importantly, the existence of the revolution itself. Furthermore, in the bottom right panel, Satrapi exposes the effect of war on Marjane through an actual example of her leaving the house and walking on the street. The coordination conjunction “so” indicates the cause and effect relationship between the tasks “father was not a hero, mother wanted to kill people” and the action of the protagonist going outside. These seemingly unrelated events indicates the confusion of Marjane and her attempt to escape the reality, suggesting the amount of trauma exposure to the story of punishments have on her.

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