In the book: Persepolis Marji and others are surrounded by oppression set upon them and they have to live their lives under the control of the Regime, The Shah, and being in the mix of a war between Iran and Iraq. Persepolis reflects on what happened during the Iranian Revolution, the way of life for people in Iran, and how the conflictual and corrupt state of Iran effected & changed the lives of many. Marji shows and tells us throughout the book her experiences she faces in being surrounded by oppression under the Islamic Regime, the Shah, during the Iranian revolution, and during the war between Iran and Iraq.
Some characters in Persepolis never find freedom as the people are enclosed and limited by the unjust government. The only people who actually has freedom are the Shah and members of the Islamic Regime for they are the ones who stirred up this huge corruption in Iran and the people deserve more. But, Marji, Marji’s Mother, Marji’s Uncle Anoosh, and Marji’s maid Mehri all find freedom despite the circumstances. The characters in Persepolis each have ways of escaping oppression and finding freedom by expressing themselves and doing what they think is right.
Similarly to other characters in Persepolis, Marji has to go to certain lengths to find freedom… And it is challenging for her, especially as a girl/woman who are often discriminated. Marji finds freedom on Page 38 and 39 where Marji, and Mehri, Marji’s Maid both go and demonstrate on behalf on social classes. Marji and Mehri have a brief argument on whether or not to go and demonstrate as Marji says “Tomorrow we are going to demonstrate” which is followed Mehri stating “We are not allowed! ” Which then, Marji assures Mehri saying “Don’t worry! We are going anyway! This shows that Marji is starting to find freedom and do what she feels is the right thing to do.
The two of them going out and demonstrating is provoked by Mehri’s boyfriend finding out that she’s a maid and how he then broke up with her just because of her social class. This made Marji angry since she cared about Mehri and was then able to both find freedom & express her feelings/opinions by participating in the demonstrations. Marji also finds freedom on page 131 as she expresses herself by dressing in 1983 Nike shoes, wearing a jean jacket, and as well wearing a Michael Jackson pin.
By dressing in this attire she is able to set herself aside, be different, and very much express herself & find freedom. And yet again, Marji is able to find freedom on page 134 in the last frame by listening to American music in which the caption of the frame says “To each his own way of calming down” which corresponds to the way how Marji finds freedom and expresses her own feelings. Marji’s mother is in a very uncomfortable position raising a child in such a terrible time period where nobody has freedom, rights, or equality under the rule of the New Regime.
Marji’s mother is able to find freedom though as she expresses herself in ways different and alike to Marji. Marji’s mother finds freedom by demonstrating as she wants to stand up for what’s right and express her thoughts, opinions, & feelings about the government. It even says as the caption on the first frame of the chapter: “The Water Cell” where Marji is narrating and says “My parents demonstrated every day” this referring to Marji’s mother (and father) shows how much Marji’s mother wants to express her opinions about the Shah in which she finds freedom and can say what she wants as she is a part of the demonstration.
Marji’s Mother also finds freedom by teaching and raising Marji. Marji’s mother is able to find freedom as she influences Marji with the mindset that she should have her own opinions and express herself as well for she shouldn’t and doesn’t deserve to live a life of poverty under the control of the Shah/Islamic Regime. These two ways of finding freedom actually are similar for on page 38 as Marji’s mother says to Marji’s father “For once she didn’t insist on coming with us” referring to how Marji’s mother and father leave Marji and Mehri alone for the day unaware that they would go demonstrate.
And the connection of the findings of freedom of Marji’s mother are how she teaches her daughter to have her own opinions and express her while she (Marji’s Mother) also demonstrates, she therefore influences Marji to do both… Even though she’s not allowed to a such a young age in such a horrific time. Marji’s Mother finds freedom by raising/teaching Marji and demonstrating as in both she is able to express herself. Marji’s Uncle Anoosh lives a challenging life but still is able to find freedom, but in a way very different than Marji.
Uncle Anoosh finds freedom in his own way by telling stories of his past to Marji. He tells Marji many stories of him doing “heroic” things, at least “heroic” in the eyes of Marji as she is fascinated and quite intrigued with her Uncle’s life story. By Marji’s Uncle Anoosh telling her his life stories, Marji is able to have memories of her uncle and passing those memories down to future generations. Uncle Anoosh in finding freedom by telling stories to Marji is also establishing a legacy for himself that will hopefully get passed down from Marji and generations to come.
Uncle Anoosh says on page 60 supporting this saying “I tell you all this because it’s important that you know. Our family memory must not be lost… ” Marji also finds much happiness in listening to his stories as she becomes very excited as she finds out that she has a hero (and heroes) in her family. She then says “There are a lot of heroes in my family. My Grandpa was in prison, My uncle too: For nine years! He was even in the USSR.
My great uncle Fereydoon proclaimed a democratic state and he was… ” As she goes on about how much she has learned from er Uncle, she also realizes that she has a hero in her family which makes her feel very fulfilled. Mehri, Marji’s maid, lives an extremely difficult life during the Iranian Revolution, but still manages to find freedom in a couple ways. Mehri’s maid finds freedom when communicating with her boyfriend by calling Marji her “sister” as she pretends to be Marji’s sister so that she may have a better shot at dating the boy. It even says on the last frame of page 35 Mehri telling Marji to write “My dear Hossein, I miss you a lot.
It has been three days since I saw you at the window. I often talk about you to my sister. ” Which Marji, being as innocent(she was innocent) and kind as she is, went along with it. But unfortunately, this doesn’t last long as Marji’s father finds out and informs Mehri’s boyfriend saying “Ok, I’ll get straight to the point: I know that Mehri pretends to be my daughter. In reality, she is my maid. ” This then provokes Mehri’s boyfriend to stop wanting to date Mehri as he finds out she is in a lower social class.
And this then leads to Marji sticking up for Mehri asking her father on page 37 “Dad, are you for or against social classes? ” Marji is strongly attached to Mehri and after hearing of this wants to demonstrate, and so does Mehri. So they both go and demonstrate against the Shah for he has established Discrimination in the matter of social classes which is both unfair and unjust. But, in demonstrating, Mehri is able to express herself as she is upset that she can’t be dated by someone of a different social class.
Oppression surrounds Iran and the people are forced to suffer under the corrupt and unjust ruling of both the Shah and the Islamic Regime. But, many people are still able to find freedom although it is a rough time. Marji is able to find freedom in Iran by demonstrating and expressing herself in her own way as she is influenced largely by American music, style, and culture. Marji’s mother finds freedom by the way how she raises Marji by teaching her to be independent, express her feelings, and have her own opinions.
Marji’s Mother also finds freedom by demonstrating as well against the hated Shah and Islamic Regime. Marji’s Uncle Anoosh on the other hand, finds freedom by telling Marji of his many stories which then establishes a legacy for himself which will be carried out by Marji and future generations. Mehri, Marji’s maid finds freedom by pretending to be Marji’s sister which gives her more leeway when it comes to social classes. Marji’s maid also, similarly to Marji and Marji’s mother, also finds freedom by participating in the demonstrations.
All of these characters find freedom although they live in a very conflictual and corrupted time period in Iran. Persepolis was a great book which made me feel as if I was growing up along with Marji being a part of what she experienced and how it affected her and others around her. Persepolis focused mainly on the effects and influences of conflict, such as the reign of the Shah and the rule of the Islamic Regime which changed and impacted the lives of many.