How does the revolution impact society in the book Persepolis?

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mdelmuro | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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The Islamic Revolution changed nearly everything about ordinary life in Iran. From the requirement that the women and girls wear the veil (hijab) to the requirement for schools to be one sex and the prohibition of alcohol, Marjane's life and her family's life changed completely. The effects of the Islamic Revolution cause the graphic novel's early major conflicts.

The graphic novel begins with two panels showing Marjane sitting with four other girls wearing veils. None of the girls look very happy about it. Marjane explains that in 1980 "it became obligatory to wear the veil at school" and she "didn't really like the veil, especially since we didn't understand why we had to." This sets of panels on the very first page of the novel set a theme for the rest of the work. It sets the theme that those living in Iran followed the rules set by the Islamic Revolution even though they "didn't understand why we had to."

Marjane came from a highly educated and very liberal family. Her parents and grandmother enjoyed drinking alcohol, they opposed the shah and hoped for a democratic revolution to usher in social and economic reform. Her father's friends and her Uncle Anoosh were in prison because of their opposition to the shah. The desire for economic reform was evident in the way Marjane's maid was treated by the neighbor boy who rejected her completely because of her social status.

After the removal of the shah, Marjane's family shares their hopes that things will get better, but the panel in which they express this feeling is wrapped by a snake, foreshadowing the bad things to come.

Eventually, the Islamic regime institutes new school rules, which increases the number of educated people in Iran, but also institutes rules about single-sex schools and the hijab requirement. Alcohol is outlawed. There is a strict dress code that is enforced in the country. The poor, who had previously been outcasts, became some of the major enforcers of these rules.

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