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SmithPeculiaPeekPeople Love PhotosPerfect ExamplePersepolisPhilosophersPhonesexPhoto ArtPhoto Icons I (1827-1926)Photographers, Writers, and the American ScenePhotography and LiteraturePhotography and PhilosophyPhotography and SciencePhotography and the USA Photography RebornPicturing DisabilityPlaytimePOPismPortraits of ResiliencePostmodernismprettycitynewyorkPsychedelicQuestions without answersRaptors Raw YouthRay's a LaughRazmatazReclining NudeRed SnowRemembering GeorgyRequisite DistanceRineke DijkstraRippleRobert Doisneau 1912-1994Robert MaxwellRoom to PlayRXSame Difference & Other StoriesSanctumSatan's Sex BookSatellitesSchizophreniaSee Me Feel MeSelf-Taught and Outsider ArtSexSexual ArtSexyBookShadow ChamberSidewalk StoriesSkin DeepSleepwalkSmall FavorsSmile of the BuddhaSpectral EvidenceSpentSshhhh!Stranded in CantonStrange Stories for Strange Kids Stranger PassingStripped BareSummer BlondeSurrealismSymbols in ArtTestimonyThe Aesthetics of DisengagementThe AlcoholicThe Art InstinctThe Art of Adolf WolfliThe Art of MedicineThe BabiesThe Birthday RiotsThe Blue Day BookThe Blue NotebookThe BodyThe Body as ProtestThe Boulevard of Broken DreamsThe Breast BookThe Breathing FieldThe Bristol Board JungleThe Clouds AboveThe Devil and Daniel JohnstonThe Diary of a Teenage GirlThe Education of SophieThe Erotic Lives of WomenThe Face in the LensThe Illustrated Story of OThe Incantations of Daniel JohnstonThe Madonna of the FutureThe Mirror of LoveThe New Erotic PhotographyThe New LifeThe Other PlaceThe PervertThe Philosophy of Andy WarholThe Places We LiveThe Psychology of Art and the Evolution of the Conscious BrainThe Push Man and Other StoriesThe Scar of VisibilityThe September 11 Photo ProjectThe Shiniest JewelThe Speed AbaterThe Steerage and Alfred StieglitzThe Story of Frog Belly Rat BoneThe Story of SexThe Stuff of LifeThe Three ParadoxesThe Transformations of GwenThe Transformations of GwenThe Transparent CityThe TravelersThe ValleyThe Van Gogh BluesThe Wolves in the WallsThe Yellow HouseThinThings as They AreThinking of YouTierney GearonTime and SilenceTina's MouthTits, Ass, and Real EstateTransitionTrauma and Documentary Photography of the FSATravelersTropical BlendTwentieth Century EightballTwilightUnlikelyVagina WarriorsVernacular VisionariesVietnam At PeaceVisual CultureVitamin PhWar Is Only Half the StoryWhat Are You Looking At?What Art IsWhat Good Are the Arts?What Remains: The Life and Work of Sally MannWho Am I, What Am I, Where Am I?Why Comics?William KentridgeWillie DohertyWithWriters on ArtistsYoung PhotographerZip Zip My Brain Harts
This memoir in black and white
comic form tells the story of what it was like to grow up in an educated family
as a girl during the "Islamic Revolution" in Iran which started in 1979.
It starts when Marjane Satrapi was ten years old, and narrates several events
over the following four years until her parents sent her to Austria when she
was fourteen. She shows how the country moved from one kind of oppressive
regime under the Shah to an even more oppressive and despotic government that
imposed religious rule on the whole of society. She manages to convey her
confusion, anger and fear very powerfully though quite simple stories. We see
how her life changed when she had to worry about her teachers reporting what
she said to the authorities and friends of the family being murdered for their
disagreement with the Islamic policies. Satrapi shows the dangers of
fundamentalist religious movements through her own perception of events at the
The war between Iran and Iraq soon
came to play a major part in the family's life, as reports came in of soldiers
dying in huge numbers, and as bombs dropped on Tehran. One of the saddest
stories tells of the day that the house of one her best friends was destroyed
in a bomb, killing all her friend's family. We see how Satrapi engaged in
minor forms of defiance of the Islamic principles governing the society through
her skeptical attitude and her enthusiasm for symbols of western popular culture
like Iron Maiden and Kim Wilde. We also see how her parents alternated between
supporting her rebellious attitude and wanting to make sure she did not get
into trouble with the authorities. Through such small details, we get to
appreciate the force of Satrapi's condemnation of the Islamic Revolution.
While the stories are full of sadness, they also are funny and charming. The
artwork is fairly simple, using almost no shading, with faces drawn with just a
few lines for mouth, nose, eyes and eyebrows, but it's varied enough to keep
the reader's interest. Persepolis is an unexpectedly powerful work of
political memoir from a very unusual perspective. Highly recommended.
© 2003 Christian
Perring. All rights reserved.
website for Persepolis
Perring, Ph.D., is Academic Chair of the Arts & Humanities
Division and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College, Long Island. He is also
editor of Metapsychology Online Review. His main research is on
philosophical issues in medicine, psychiatry and psychology.
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