The Need For Happiness In Persepolis, By Marjane Satrapi

1600 Words 7 Pages
The Need for Happiness
The simplest, purest aspects of life are often what is desired and valued the most amongst people. However, in many parts of the world, people are oblivious to their privileges and are never satisfied or happy with what they are blessed with. In the graphic novel Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi, the opposite can be seen as regular citizens sacrifice much of the little they have in hopes of achieving happiness. The citizens of Iran lack the right to express themselves freely, as authorities are always present to enforce the oppression and hypocrisy of the government. Since violators will always be punished severely, people often lie or hide their true selves to ensure safety. The risks taken by characters such as the author
…show more content…
It is clearly depicted throughout the novel that in Iranian revolutionary society, the oppressive government imposes its traditional views upon its people and expects those views to be respected. However, these traditional views limit the amount of freedom people have to express themselves in public. As a result, the population takes the risk to rebel and lives with two identities, as can be seen through Marjane Satrapi and her friends’ actions: they obey the government to a certain degree in public, but at home they express themselves as they please. In other words, “[Their] behaviour in public and [their] behaviour in private [are] polar opposites” (151). Thus, even though they cannot act freely out in public, they are able to ‘be themselves’ as a form of rebellion when they are in private, as no one can see them or report them to authorities. Marjane and her friends have ideas and ways to express themselves that are in opposition to the government, which reflects the spirits of many citizens during the revolution, who also rebel in secret. The presence of the lack of freedom one possesses, however, is not solely located in Iran. During Marjane’s stay in Austria, she lives in a boarding house being run by nuns; there, she must abide by rules set by the nuns, who are rather discriminant towards her for being Iranian. After lecturing Marjane …show more content…
The absurdity of the laws also present themselves as a recurring theme throughout the novel, as depicted through many examples during Marjane’s time in Iran. When Marjane is in art school, an announcement is made stating that the women should wear less-wide trousers and longer head-scarves as a way to protect their integrity. However, Marjane finds these demands of the authorities to be highly irrational. Due to this imposing command, she risks suffering punishment to confront the authorities with the question: “Is religion defending our physical integrity or is it just opposed to fashion?” (143). The man has stated that by making these adjustments they are showing respect to the martyrs who have sacrificed their lives for their society. However, none of these changes seem reasonable– why should the women not be allowed to dress in comfortable, fashionable clothes that cover them up nonetheless? As well, why should clothing that restrict movement, and therefore limit the ability to draw, be imposed upon students who must spend their time drawing? People outside of Iran tend to think of Iranians as being oppressed, often describing the various demands of the authorities as ‘ridiculous’, and sometimes judge the Iranians as people who are too scared to stand up for what they want. This scene in which Marjane bravely

Related Documents

Related Topics