Persepolis is the story of Marjane Satrapi's life during a tumultuous period in Iran that culminated in the 1979 Islamic Revolution. She grew up in a household that was not religious but had a strong sense of patriotism for Iran. Satrapi details the impact the revolution had on herself, her family, and her friends. Suddenly, the government was forcing Iranians to fully adopt a more religious lifestyle and mandated that women wear a veil.
Satrapi partly published this book to give others a look inside her childhood during a serious turning point in Iranian history. In a world where Islamophobia is becoming an increasingly fraught issue, Satrapi tries to explain through her writing that she and other Iranians lead normal lives. The novel also intimates that there is no shame in choosing to be religious or not religious. Satrapi also stresses how important it is for people to maintain their own rights in other ways, like women's choice whether or not to wear a veil. She seems to want to open readers' eyes to the experiences of others living in perhaps markedly different cultures, as she indicated in a statement about the novel:
If people are given the chance to experience life in more than one country, they will hate a little less. It’s not a miracle potion, but little by little you can solve problems in the basement of a country, not on the surface. That is why I want people in other countries to read Persepolis, to see that I grew up just like other children.