The Symbol of Cigarette in “Persepolis”

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What is conventional behavior? An adjective for things that are normal, ordinary, and following the accepted way. In Iran, the citizens must folio specific laws and rules that affect their everyday life. In Persepolis author Marjane Satrapi, utilizes cigarettes to symbolize her transition from childhood, and characterizes her relationship with God as changing to illustrate the challenges of growing up in war zone. Laws implemented by the Iranian government affected their clothing choices, freedom of choice and speech, and veiling. Satrapi recalls impactful experiences as a child in Iran to illustrate the outcomes of the governmental restrictions that took away their personal freedoms.Satrapi symbolizes her transition from childhood to adulthood with cigarettes. When she smoked her first cigarette, she coughs and says with this first cigarette, I kissed childhood goodbye. Now I was a grown-up (15.46). Satrapi uses the words goodbye and grown-up to conjugate with the image of the cigarettes to imply that she is leaving her childhood. She has been through war and death, anyone would grow up faster. Marjane smokes her first cigarette after her fight with her mother about skipping school because two of her friends, who were both fourteen, convinced her to do so with hamburgers. She said, I sealed my act of rebellion against my mother by smoking the cigarette I’d stolen from my uncle two weeks earlier (15.46). Satrapi uses the words act of rebellion and stolen to conjugate with the image of the cigarettes to imply that she is growing up.

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Satrapi illustrates her imagery of the night to correspond with her relationship with God. Political prisoners, Mohsen and Siamak, were released from prison and tells Marji and her family about the torture hey endured. Marji takes the horrific torture methods and turns it into a game to play with her friends, but later that night, she feels overwhelmed and tries to find comfort with her mom and with God. She said, The only place I felt safe was in the arms of my friend. (7.45) Satrapi uses the words safe and friend to conjugate with the image of her in the arms of God and explains that this was the only place she felt safe during the time of war. Marji wants to participate in the protest that’s being organized against the police, but her parents won’t let her come. That night, she tries to talk to God, but he doesn’t respond. She said, That night God didn’t come. (2.43) Satrapi uses the words God and didn’t come to conjugate with the image of her feeling alone again because she lost her friend when she needed him.

In conclusion, Marjane puts us in her shoes and explains all the restrictions she had to obey or suffer gruesome consequences. She goes into extreme details when talking about the warzone she lived in. This is the story of a young girl with an unforgettable childhood and coming of age within a large loving family in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution. She put her young life and the history of her country into a book that explains the tragedies and joy of growing up. Persepolis tells us that our lives are are not restricted by laws like wearing a veil in public, not being able to wear what you want to in public, and how the traditions that happen around the world effect you. This is truly a stunning piece of work from one of the most talented graphic artists at work today.

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The Symbol of Cigarette in "Persepolis". (2019, Jul 01). Retrieved December 3, 2022 , from

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