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The Destruction of Happy Families- Persepolis

“One can forgive but one should never forget”.

Book Introduction

As a graphic novel, Persepolis is about Marjane growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. Satrapi tells the story of her childhood under the overthrow of the shah’s regime, the triumph of the Iranian Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq. From a girl’s perspective, she tells the story vividly and wisely.

book cover

Book Recommendation

rating: 4.5/5

The book is written humorously and heartbreaking at the same time. It is also very effective in revealing the social and historical backgrounds under which the girl grew up. It is a perfect choice for history and sociology lovers. It is also interesting to read since it’s a graphic novel, and there are a lot to analyze within the drawings and forms of the panels.

The Destruction of Happy Families

–Book review of the graphic novel Persepolis

    Families are important parts of people’s lives. They provide people with love and happiness; they are places where people feel comfortable; they have become irreplaceable parts of people’s lives. Since birth, people are connected to certain family members within the kinship and the similarities in DNA, and through these connections, people have families and homes. Because of the unchangeable and permanent traits of the kinships, this type of connection have become very important. However, the happy states of families are constantly affected by unstable societies, especially under wars and revolutions. The tumults in such societies can cause the separation of families, the concerns of family members and even the death of the loved ones, and these are great pain to bear. By focusing the story on family life, Satrapi argues that the Iranian Revolution is destructive to the happiness of the Iranian families, as it brought separation, fear of loss and pain to the family.

corresponding panel

Satrapi argues that the Iranian Revolution was responsible for tearing families apart and separating family members, as some family members were forced to leave the country as a result of the domestic turmoil of the revolution. In the last panel of the book Persepolis, the girl is looking at her parents behind the glass in the airport, when she is supposed to fly alone to Vienna for better opportunities (Satrapi 153). Her hands are posed on the window, and her eyes are wide open upon realizing that her mom passed out (Satrapi 153). The whole family is in pain because of the departure of the girl. The girl is unhappy to leave her family unwillingly and to see her mom in coma; the mom is so melancholy that she passed out; the dad is unhappy as a result of the departure of his daughter and the unstable state of his wife. Because of the revolution, the girl has to leave the country and to witness her parents in pain as she says “It would have been better to just go” (Satrapi 153). She is devastated upon realizing she has to leave her family, and things got worse when she found out her mom’s sadness, which added on to her unhappiness. Satrapi argues that the Iranian Revolution directly caused the separation of the family and tore families apart, and it was responsible for the unhappiness of the families involved.

corresponding panel 2

    Satrapi argues that the Iranian Revolution devastates the happiness of the Iranian families as it brought about the fear of losing family members. In the middle panel in the chapter The Shabbat, Satrapi reunites with her mom when she hears her street is bombed as a result of the revolution. Satrapi’s legs as well as her mom’s legs are stretched out of the panel, and their arms are wide open, which indicates that they are ready to hug each other (Satrapi 140). The girl is crying in tears the moment she sees her mom (Satrapi 140). Satrapi and her mom are so eager to ensure thew wellness of each other that they run to each other, and Satrapi cries because of the fear of losing her parents. The revolution caused great pain of the families, because the family members had to suffer the pain of thinking about the outcomes of the potential danger and having the thought of the death of their loved ones. The families are always concerned and worried about each other until they can make sure everyone in the family is safe and sound. From the gestures of the legs and the arms of the family members and their facial expressions, Satrapi argues that the Iranian Revolution is toxic for the happiness of the family as people constantly fear the loss of the loved ones from the revolution.

corresponding panel 3

    From drawing the full page panel in the chapter The Sheep, Satrapi argues that the actions the Republic conducted to the former revolutionaries were cruel and brutal to families, and they could cause great pain to those who lost their relatives. In the panel, the girl is in a falling gesture in the universe, with her arms and legs wide open, and her eyes are emotionless (Satrapi 71). She looks devastated and hopeless, and she appears to be swollen by the darkness of the universe, which is the result of the execution of her uncle. From the depiction of her sadness, Satrapi demonstrates that the death of the former revolutionaries caused great trauma to people’s lives, and people are still in helpless conditions. From the devastation of the girl depicted in the panel and the subsequent disaster implied in the captions, Satrapi criticizes the immorality of the execution and the destructive effectsthe Iranian Revolution has on families, as the families had to suffer the pain of losing their loved ones.

As a little girl in Iran, Satrapi went through different stages of struggle regarding family loss, including having to leave her family, being unsure about the livelihood of her parents and accepting the death of her beloved uncle. From these experiences, Satrapi learned a lot about the real state of the revolution. However, besides criticizing the Iranian Revolution for causing family traumas, Satrapi also reveals the moral issues of wars and revolutions of all kind. Even though some revolutions are indeed necessary and revolutionary, people can’t disregard the great harm they do to the happiness of families, which are the basic units of human happiness. 

Information: Persepolis- Marjane Satrapi

Date: 3/28/2019

little revision is made


Published by Sunny

I am a high school rising sophomore and I love to read and write.

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