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spleenfiend's picture

I think Persepolis may be the first thing I've really, really enjoyed reading in a while; I read it all in one shot.  I really liked the simplicity of the style and never found myself reading the words instead of looking at the pictures, even though I am drawn to words like many of the people in our class.  A Game of You made me realize that reading graphic novels may not always be a quick process, but even though Persepolis is a lot thicker, I think I got through it more quickly.  There seemed to be less text on each page. 

I also thought about what Dave said during his visit, about how we project ourselves more onto a character that is drawn to be less defined.  I definitely felt more like I was reading a book as opposed to watching a movie when I read Persepolis, whereas A Game of You seems more like a movie.  I felt more connected and drawn into the story, but that may just be personal preference.

However, while I can more easily relate to an "undefined" character (both in appearance and personality), I am at the same time fundamentally against them.  I'm not sure why the simpler drawing style of Persepolis should have had a real effect on how I related to the main character, even though her personality was well defined.  

In a real novel, the appearance of the character wouldn't matter as much because I could picture it however I wanted, so does that mean I should be able to relate to any book character more than any graphic novel character?  I tend to think it's the character's personality that matters more, and I frown on characters who are not well developed.  I feel distanced from a generic character, personally.  But I also know that books like Twilight are so popular because the character development is poor and girls can project their own personalities on Bella. 

To that extent, I want to read about a character who is very distant from myself at the risk of "relatability" - perhaps because of my voyeuristic tendencies.  Part of the reason Persepolis was interesting to me was that it is based on Marjane Satrapi's actual life, and I got a chance to peek into another culture, and I was able to believe that it was true because I trusted the source.  Nonfiction reminds me of blogs in that sense.

So is distance good or bad?  For me at least, I want to connect with a character on an emotional level but also want reading to be a learning experience, so I don't always want to read what I already know.  I think that sums up why I liked Persepolis so much.

Comments

rachelr's picture

Agreed

 I agree with many of the comments here- I really enjoyed Persepolis. Again, I found that I did not always pay attention to the images, but I liked that I was learning something in addition to being drawn into an interesting story. At first I was somewhat put off by the simplistic dialogue, but then I asked myself, would I actually want to read and would I understand and process the material had it been presented in a textbook-like form? No, I most likely would not have. It was an easy read, I learned about conflicts in and surrounding Iran, and I retained what I read. 

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