What kinds of captivity and freedom does the author explore in Persepolis? What stifles or prevents people from being completely free? What is true freedom?

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True freedom is an elusive thing in Persepolis. Freedom describes not only a legal state of being, but an inner one as well. Marji never achieves this sort of freedom: she always has one or the other, but never both inner and outer liberation at once.

The cultural revolution's...

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True freedom is an elusive thing in Persepolis. Freedom describes not only a legal state of being, but an inner one as well. Marji never achieves this sort of freedom: she always has one or the other, but never both inner and outer liberation at once.

The cultural revolution's restrictions on behavior and dress are the most obvious impediments to freedom in Persepolis. Women with jobs are forced to abandon their posts. Citizens are not allowed to consume alcohol. Western culture and goods are prohibited. No one is allowed to criticize the new theocratic rule. Any rebellion is liable to severe punishment, from imprisonment and torture to death.

This is all tough on the protagonist, Marji, a natural rebel whose outspoken demeanor is in direct opposition to the submissive, silent role the new regime expects all women and girls to conform to. She has to enjoy her Western music and clothes in secret. She barely escapes being punished when caught transgressing behavioral codes. Her mind is free from the propaganda of the new state, guaranteeing Marji inner freedom from indoctrination, but outward, she is as much a captive of the system as anyone else.

In the end, Marji's parents send her to a school in Austria. They know her rebellious nature will only get her killed by the government, so they do this to protect her as well as to free her from an oppressive way of life. However, Marji, who is very attached to her family, sees this as an exile, another sort of imprisonment, since she is now cut off from the people she most cares about. So, no matter what, Marji never achieves the true, all-encompassing freedom she had before the revolution.

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