Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood

by Marjane Satrapi

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How did Marjane "learn" or "receive" information? What was her response after receiving important information? What does that tell us about Marjane?

Marjane is usually receptive when she learns or receives information. One of the themes of the book is her education and increased awareness of the political reality of her country. She is curious and intelligent, and even when she receives difficult information, she tries to make sense of it and adjust her views accordingly.

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Marjane is the main character of the two volume non-fiction graphic novel Persepolis which is a coming-of-age story set in Iran during a time of great political unrest. Marjane receives information in multiple ways, and one of her outstanding qualities is that when she learns new things, she re-adjusts her views and thoughts based on the information.

The story begins in the 1970s when the autocratic, Western-friendly Shah was in power. Her school teaches her to respect and revere the Shah, but her liberal parents teach her to question this and to not accept everything at face value. She learns just how brutal he can be to stay in power. Her beloved uncle, Anoosh, teaches her about Marxism and class struggle. He is later executed, which furthers Marjane's disillusionment with the regime.

In 1979, the Shah is overthrown during the Iranian Revolution and a conservative, very religious government takes over. Marjane is independent and high-spirited and does not respond well to all the measures that are required by the new regime. They require that women and girls have to be covered and that anything western is forbidden.

She rebels in secret, listening to various western bands and musicians. As her teachers formerly praised the Shah, they now praise the religious state and discourage any questioning of the state. What Marjane learns by living through two very different governments is that she values freedom and democratic values, something that neither of these governments value.

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