Sense of Self Theme

Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi, is in my opinion one of the most important young adult literature novels of our time. Though it is a graphic novel, it tells a story with such power and importance, and in such a beautiful way, I think many High School students would benefit in countless ways from reading this book, negating whatever they might lose from its simplicity of language.

The novel follows a young girl in her experiences with the Iranian revolution. One of my favorite aspects about this graphic novel is how much context it gives its readers. One does not necessarily need to be well-versed in the events of the Iranian revolution to be able to sympathize with the trials the main character must endure and with the entirety of those effected. In this way, I think this book would be extremely beneficial to high school students who, though it would be ideal that they do, usually do not have a strong background in such events, making this novel a much easier read than one that would assume an audience with more knowledge on the subject.

Because of how well the book gives contexts for its events provides yet another reason why this book is so important: it’s a great way to learn about the Iranian revolution. This graphic novel is a fast-paced, relatable, hilarious, and horrifying first-hand account of the peoples’ experience at the time. This is a great way to make students care about something that maybe isn’t taught in schools, and therefore open up to possibility that there is more to learn than high school can teach you. This not only prepares students for college but gives them the chance to want to be more active learners in general.

One final aspect of Persepolis that I surprisingly enjoyed was the fact that it was a graphic novel. Though at first I was apprehensive to consider reading a graphic novel, I am so glad I did, and I don’t think this story would be the same if it were told any other way. The illustrations keep the novel extremely fast-paced, a characteristic I think the author would very much agree is one that reflects the events in the novel perfectly. It also keeps the reader active and engaged in a topic they may very easily know little about, something that is no easy task.

Overall, I would definitely recommend Persepolis. The story of a girl trying to find meaning in her religion, values, government, and identity all at once is one that I think a surprising number of high school students will be able to relate to, despite cultural differences.

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2 thoughts on “Sense of Self Theme

  1. I have definitely hard of this novel and your review of the book makes it sound excellent. I don’t know very much about this area of the world but it sounds like a really interesting read.

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  2. I LOVE Persepolis, quite possibly my favorite memoir I’ve ever read to date. I think this book does more than just teach about the Iranian Revolution, as well as the precedents for the recent Arab Spring, but show people how Iran used to be.

    In light of the terrorist attacks our nation experienced, people tend to have an over-generalization regarding Iranian people through misplaced wars and the prejudice our country was enveloped in throughout the process. This book reflects on what Iran was, what it became (and who made it that way), and the population of people fighting back. More so, it humanizes the history surrounding many nations that The United States tends to criminalize based off stereotypes of a very small population.

    Can you imagine if people formed opinions of the United States based off of the precedents created by the Westboro Baptist Church? This book helps eliminate the malice and several misplaced opinions and is incredibly important for students, especially those who do not have an appreciation for worldly differences, to read.

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