Main Character Marjane in “Persepolis” by Marjane Satrapi

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In Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, the main character, Marjane, develops a dynamic character. A dynamic character is one that changes, grows, or learns a lesson at some point during the narrative. Marjane develops and changes throughout the book through her eye size as well as the cigarette. These two symbols are crucial in understanding how Marjane unfolds into a dynamic character throughout the book.

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In the chapter titled the Cigarette, the reader is introduced to the cigarette. The cigarette symbolizes the insubordination of Marjane towards her mother at a young age. This rebellious behaviour is illustrated in the book on page 117, As for me, I sealed my act of rebellion against my mother’s dictatorship by smoking the cigarette I’d stolen from my uncle two weeks earlier. (Satrapi, 117) This quote really demonstrates how Marjane’s mother seems like a dictator to her during her childhood and with the cigarette she ended her childhood and begins to advance to adulthood. This can also be related to the Iranian revolution which is occuring in their country right now. The dictator of Iran, Reza Shah Pahlavi, looks over the revolution and explains how to act and strictly controls the country. Similarly, Marjane’s mother strictly watches over her and enforces what she can and cannot do. This is illustrated on page 38, When I finally understood the reasons for the revolution I made my decision. Tomorrow we are going to demonstrate.(Satrapi, 38) This act of going to the demonstration reinforces Marjane’s rebellious behaviors. On the next page, her parents found out that Mehri and Marjane went to the demonstration even though her parents strictly explain that it is simply too dangerous for the two of them to attend the demonstrations against the revolution. These two acts confirms that Marjane’s mother was similar to a dictator through Marjane’s perspective. Also, both acts confirm that Marjane is beginning to act like a rebellious person and is developing that dynamic character.

Throughout the book, Satrapi uses the character’s eye size to symbolize their open mindedness and innocence. The eye size of various characters changes throughout the book as they begin to develop and move on to different stages of their life. One way that this is illustrated is from the first page where we are introduced to young Marjane as well as a controversial symbol of the revolution. On page three we can make an observation that Marjane’s eye size at that time was large. On that same page we can also see her innocence through, We didn’t really like to wear the veil especially since we didn’t understand why we had to.(Satrapi, 3) This statement alone really demonstrates Marjane’s lack of understanding about the war and how she was kind of open to the veil at first and how she wasn’t rebelling as much. At this young of an age she really had no option. Another similar example to this is on page 90 where Marjane’s parents friends house was bombed and they had to stay with her family for a place to stay. They had two children and their eye size is quite large. On page 92, the children appear to show innocence and they are naive, I want that! I want that!…. What’s flatulence? (Satrapi 92) On this page, Marjane and her parents went with their two very young children to stock up on some food while their town, Tehran, was getting bombed. Their children were being very naive and wanted to get things that they didn’t need. This shows that they don’t know the severity of the revolution. Also, they were making immature jokes in the store when everyone is expressing sorrow and more focused on the revolution. An example where the different character’s eyes were getting smaller was when they were chasing Marjane’s classmate, Ramin, with nails between her fingers with the intent to harm him because of his father’s beliefs. On page 45 satrapi illustrates the lack of innocence,My idea was to put nails between our fingers like American brass knuckles and to attack Ramin. (Satrapi, 45) On this panel the eyes appeared to be so small that they were almost closed. Satrapi was using this to show the wrongdoings of Marjane and her friends. The eye size demonstrates Marjane becoming a more dynamic character as it symbolized the stage of her life she is in and how she changes throughout the book.

All in all, it can be concluded that Satrapi illustrates that Marjane is a dynamic character through many symbols. Eye size and the cigarette strictly show how Marjane develops in the book both as a character and how her Ideologies change.

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Main Character Marjane in "Persepolis" by Marjane Satrapi. (2019, Jul 01). Retrieved December 2, 2022 , from

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