Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood

by Marjane Satrapi

Start Free Trial

In the book Persepolis, how does culture influence Marji’s personal identity?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In Persepolis, we see different cultures influencing Marjane in a variety of ways. One of the most obvious ways is how she interacts with Western culture. As a child, she thinks of Western (particularly American and English) pop culture and media as super cool, and she goes out of her way to incorporate it into her identity. We see her buying CDs and listening to rock music, dressing up like a punk rocker, and wearing Nikes. Her adoption of Western culture serves as a sort of rebellion for her, as it goes against Iranian customs. Through her interaction with culture, she shapes her identity into one more aligned with counter-culture and can start to relearn how to be Iranian through this lens.

Of course, we know that Iranian culture is important to Marji as well. Her family relations are incredibly formative for her. Additionally, the fact that she wants to rebel and protest what she views as societal wrongs in Iran shows that her home culture deeply matters to her (otherwise, she wouldn't fight for change).

There is a duality of cultures within her personal identity, and the way the two play off of each other is what makes her unique. For her, Western culture and Middle Eastern culture are often in conversation; one is often informing her perception of the other and therefore her perception of herself.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team