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jlustick's picture

Understanding the Visual Aspect of Persepolis

Like several other members of the class, I found myself glossing over the pictures and primarily reading the words. While I realize that I should probably be "reading" the pictures as well, I'm not sure that I know how to do this kind of reading. I think part of the problem is that I tend to be an efficient reader and looking at the pictures feels "slows me down" because my eyes are staying in one spot for an extended period of time, and the pages are flipping forward. However, I've come to realize that examining the pictures only slows me down on a superficial level- it allows me to move forward in terms of interpretation and understanding. Thus, it seems that in order to fully embrace this novel, I must step outside my comfort zone and accept a new approach to reading. Can I do that? I'm not sure. I try forcing myself to slow down and pay attention to the drawings, but I several pages later, I find that I have abandoned that tactic. Perhaps this "uncomfortable" style of reading is part of what makes this a feminist text. I, the reader, realize that the status quo method of reading is insufficient...I must open my mind to new methods of reading and interpretation.

When I do pay attention to the visual images, I am troubled by/interested in a few fundamental aspects of the artistic style. First, I am curious about her use of animation. Is this reductionist? I do notice that her characters aren't caracitures, reduced to a single attribute. Many of the people look alike, separated by the smallest tweak in facial structure or hair style. Still, she does employ gender stereotypes in order to easily differentiate between male and female. What are the consequences, both positive and negative, of her animated style? I was also intrigued by her use of black and white. Physically, her pictures lack a gray area...is this metaphoric as well? Does she understand the world to be easily divisible into black and white? 

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