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Dealing with Persepolis: Class Notes for Day 20

nk0825's picture

Dealing with Persepolis:

A few thoughts from the class…

- framework of Persepolis is simple pictures explaining a series of complicated historical events=HELPFUL

-hard to follow plot of Persepolis; different reading experience

-some wanted Persepolis to have colored images like in A Game of You

-however, images weren’t as distracting; they were helpful so some got more out of this read

-spleefiend truly enjoyed Persepolis, felt as if it was a relaxing read

-  discussed how an undefined looking face allows reader to relate/ project themselves onto the character=relates to simplistic drawings in Persepolis…

-liked cartoon aspect, takes away from heaviness of reading; if history books written like this reading them wouldn’t be such a chore

-style of images contrasts well to violence and horror of subject choice….draws attention to the fact that it is hard to relay awful realities through pictures because how can one draw unimaginable things? unrepresentability to horrors of subject

-people can relate to artwork and perspective from which it’s told, even though Marji is in a situation not many of us have been in

-childhood story aspect was striking…artwork paralleled simplicity of child’s outlook (simplification of the world)

- author paid attention to images and text equally

- some didn’t like the black and white and simplicity of the drawings

- some of us preferred the complicated text and paired down drawings because  it felt more like reading

-images were important, things Satrapi did with pictures that were clever…ex: Marji is having a tea party with God, God was sitting with her and then disappeared…it’s cute and clever expressed this way rather than just having Marji ask “God, where are you?”

-very powerful memoir because Satrapi wrote AND drew it, everything in here is specifically her experiences

            -she can express all of her sentiments through her own pictures/drawings

            -coherence of story comes from single hand, brain and eye

- some liked watching Satrapi's portrayal of herself growing throughout the text…at the end the drawing is how she looks presently

-later addition has picture of her instead of the drawing…why has this been changed?

-illustrations are only black and white, NO GRAY… Marji has a very clear cut, rigid way of thinking so  the illustrations mirror this mindset (form representing content)

-some like the way it becomes a story as it progresses,and the pacing is different

-most of us really liked Persepolis more than A Game of You, reasons:

            -it was a lot easier to ignore images in Persepolis

            -like the storyline better 


Close Reading of Images in Persepolis because we “need” to learn to read images...

‘The Veil’ (p 3)

-eye positioned next to the title of section, the eye is overtop of the line separating frames below, so this maybe tells the reader to read between the lines?

-first frame is intro picture of Margi

-second picture shows “class photo”, Margi is cut out but all of the girls look the same because of the veil

-the next frame is an image of the Islamic revolution, readers can see the unrest

-little students ordered around and being forced to wear veil

-we can see how the children don’t understand why they have to wear it, that’s why they are playing games with the veil

-on the next pg in a class photo the students look happier, boys AND girls are present, no veils= a sophisticated use of time…representing a “flashback”

‘The Bicycle’ (p 15)

-motion of bike, getting caught up in group causes you to accelerate, hence a revolution

-image on pg 10 the group seemingly stops peddling, they all “fall” down due to deceleration

-the fire on page 15 takes away core of what was happening at the time

-image is large so it draws you in because there is less text, more image

-horror, terror, unimaginable event

-faces become like skulls, any individuality is burned away as they turn into flames

            -they transition from material to immaterial

-people trying to run out as people above them are burning, can see impossibility of no existing exit

-when flipping the page the reader has to focus on people, there is a huge contrast between the horrific scene on pg 15 to a husband and wife sitting in bed together planning the next day

‘The Party’ (p 40, 42)

-pg 40: where it says PARTY- is the image a firework or a bomb?

-first panel is rows of dead bodies, all have the same face, after death individuality is gone (does lying down signify their death?)

-next frame, all of people political leader had killed are driving him away from the throne

-last panel on Pg 41 without his crown, the king looks like all of the other people

-pg 42: emphasizes celebration, all of the people look different, everyone but 2 have their eyes closed

-eyes are where people express emotion, for the majority of people in this picture we cannot SEE their emotion because their eyes are closed

‘The Heroes’ (p 52)

-picture on top of dismembered man..struck by real life dismemberment is bloody process and cut are not clean, Satrapi explains later because something so horrific is unimaginable

            -how a child would imagine someone being cut to pieces

-takes up whole page because it shows a communal thought level

-child’s eye view represents unrepresentability of horrors

‘The Key’ (p 102)

-images of people dancing and people dying are similar (juxtaposition/ irony of two images placed on top of one another)

-hard to see one image where Marji is happy, living/partying with all her friends in HER reality while horror of the real world is unfolding simultaneously

-top image takes up a good portion of page (rhythm of smaller frames broken which adds to shock…)

-large image feels brighter than panels beforehand …gives it feeling of an explosion

-keys in image are obvious

-blackness of figures shows Marji’s inability to see what they look like, to personally relate

‘The Cigarette’ (p 117)

-116: obviously violent, almost cartoonish mayhem in stark contrast to 117 where horrors come to people as they stand in line waiting to die

-personal rebellion and horrific repression

-people on 117 who are standing in line all look similar because they are supposed to epitomize the revolution

-“It was awful, but this was not the moment to give in..” Marji is paralleling her own childish experience with experience of revolutionaries

-this proves her rebellion is insignificant in the grand scheme of things

-tonality of “as for me..I seal my act of rebellion” to us it’s ironic, Marji the child may not have been aware of this irony


Would we call Persepolis a novel?

-visual and verbal being put together in order to SHOW ironies

-call this instead a graphic memoir, autographic, or automemoir

-graphic narratives highlight what is fiction and what is nonfiction (representation isn’t accurate)



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