What are some good questions to stimulate discussion based on Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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A discussion can be easily stimulated through raising some of this text's central themes and opening them up for debate. For example, as the title of this text suggests, this is above all the story of the protagonist's journey from childhood and lack of understanding to adulthood, and her appreciation of the complex world in which she lives and the many tensions that exist both in her country and in her identity. Often, the struggles and conflicts that Marjane experiences or becomes aware of are mirrored by the political struggles and conflicts that mire her country. Note the following example:

The reason for my shame and for the Revolution is the same: the difference between social classes.

Marjane increasingly becomes uncomfortable with the opinions that her parents hold and the middle class existence that gives them such a privileged place in society. Her class consciousness is something that is triggered by the story of how her maid, Mehri, is not able to marry the boy she loves because of the differences in their social position. Marjane realises that the Revolution is an apt metaphor for the revolution that occurs within her as she struggles with the tensions in her own identity.

Another theme that would be a great topic for discussion would be the power of education. This is a key theme of the text, as the power of education is highlighted as being able to release people from the chains of religious subservience and unquestioning obedience to autocratic regimes. Marjane highlights this when she says:

I think that the reason we were so rebellious was that our generation had known secular schools.

This would be a great theme to debate not only in the way education is presented in the text, but also to discuss whether education is viewed in a similar way by students in a very different context.  

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