Maturing is Realizing: Marjane’s Clarity through Internal Warfare

It is arguable that a child’s outlook on life is most malleable between the ages of six and fourteen years old. It is during this stage that children are able to absorb the world around them and make judgements that will stick with them until said judgements are inevitably reconstructed during adolescence. Marjane’s ability to shape her beliefs based on the atmosphere she is exposed to is within the same concept. As Marjane transitions from childhood to adolescence, the outlook she has on what the end of a revolution entails, the morbidity of martyrdom, and the restraints of womanhood are both clarified and changed due to the crumbling world around her. To young Marjane, the idea of the revolution ending is a win in her book. Iran is finally free and though she does not fully understand the gravity of what this victory entails, she is joyful nevertheless. Marjane recounts, “The day he left, the country had the biggest celebration of its entire history” (Satrapi 42.1.1). At this monumental point in her childhood, no one suspected that this victory would soon be the root of their oppression. The Shah was gone and freedom was secured, right? As Marjane matures, the victory that was the fall of the Shah slowly starts to bleed into the start of a war. Marjane painfully recalls, “True. But soon there’ll be no home… You haven’t heard? Haven’t heard what? We’re at war” (79.1.2 – 79.2.1-2). It is when the war is declared that Marjane realizes the validity of what the end of a revolution really means. The Islamic Regime has taken over and freedom once again becomes an idea that feels unattainable. As Marjane grows up through the revolution and through this war on Iran, she comes to realize that the breaking of the shackles of oppression did not end at the Shah, but it only truly began at the hands of the Islamic Regime. From a young age, Marjane romanticizes the idea of people dying like martyrs, or at least portraying their death as such. She believes that good heroes suffer for their cause and that great heroes die for their cause. When she meets her uncle Anoosh, she is instantly mesmerized by his heroic stories. Marjane remembers, “They put me in prison for nine years… I tell you all this because it’s important that you know. Our family memory must not be lost. Even if it’s not easy for you, even if you don’t understand it all” (60.2.2 – 60.3.3). Marjane admires Anoosh because she looks to him as a true example of what a revolutionary hero is. He was imprisoned and was important to the fight for the end of the Shah. As a child, Marjane uses the level of pain endured as a means of measuring how brave an individual is. This idea of martyrdom is soon transformed as her life is affected closely by the effects of heroism. Marjane later discovers that her treasured Anoosh was imprisoned by the Islamic Regime and later executed (70.1.1). Her strong respect towards the idea of one fighting or dying for one’s beliefs changes as she grows up because she has lost her hero at the hands of the regime that arose from her newly found “freedom.” As a little girl, Marji aspired to be a knowledgeable woman. This is known early on when she first reveals what she aspires to be when she grows up. Marji writes, “At the age of six I was already sure I was the last prophet. This was a few years before the revolution” (6.2.1). Clearly, as a child, Marjane did not take into account gender, thus making her ambitions tangible. However, through the revolution and the Islamic Regime, she comes into her own, realizing that her role as a woman in Iran proves to be rather constraining. Marjane says, “No more university. And I wanted to study chemistry. I wanted to be like Marie Curie… I wanted to be an educated, liberated woman. And if the pursuit of knowledge meant getting cancer, so be it” (73.3.1-2). Now that Marji is a young woman with goals and pursuits obtainable through university, she is stuck with the reality that her education is limited, making any chance of her being properly educated feel like a lifetime away. From a young age, Marjane has been the type of girl to do something about the issues that bother her. This is seen when she finally grasps the meaning of the revolution and decides to go out and protest (38.3.1). Although many were killed that day in a protest close to them, it did not stop the passion she had for standing up for what is right. While the flame ignited in her heart did not go out, her outlet for voicing her opinions in the midst of the Islamic Regime is slowly halted for her safety. Marjane is given a reality check, “You know what they do to the young girls they arrest? A guardian of the revolution marries her… and takes her virginity before executing her. Do you understand what that means?” (145.2.1, 145.3.1-2). As the regime continues to target the livelihood of women, it is made clear to Marjane that her firecracker spirit is dangerous thus changing her approach to and putting into perspective the meaning of being a woman in the midst of a regime full of oppressive men. From childhood, Marjane has been a revolutionist at heart. Throughout her childhood into adolescence, Marjane fully develops her view on revolution, the true meaning of heroism, and the burdens of womanhood in the midst of an oppressive regime.

Heroes or Hypocrites

Fear is a path to power.  Marjane’s family were one of many families who were fearful of the Shah but completely disobeyed the Regime’s rules by indulging in everything that was forbidden.  Although Marjane is young, she seemed to be the only one who was aware of the diabolical things that were taking place around her.  I would judge Marjane’s parents as hypocrites but not Marjane because she seemed to have more common sense than her parents, besides, she was just a child stuck between a rock and a hard place at a young age.

Marjane didn’t understand much about the Iranian Revolution, but she read “all the  books she could” to get a clear understanding (6.3.8).  There were numerous demonstrations held to overthrow the oppressions of the Shah. The people of Iran simply wanted freedom.  The Shah announced that they would “march towards democracy” (40.3.2). After all the torture from the secular government the Iranians wanted his departure. The next day the Shah was overthrown and the town had the biggest celebration. Marjane’s family insisted that they talked about something else “now that the devil [was gone]” (43.3.1). Marjane’s father pronounced that “there will never be any peace as long as there is oil in the middle east” (43.3.2). We see that the parents are now starting to hope against hope and even become contradictory towards one another’s views.  Marjane became more and more passionate about people who were corrupt and wanted to take action towards them. Marjane’s mother thought that “it wasn’t their job to do justice and that it is important to forgive” (46.2.1).  I find it strange that Marjane’s mother said it wasn’t their job to do justice but she participated in every demonstration knowing the consequences of what could take place.  As a child who is vulnerable in a traumatic situation such as this, not knowing what could happen, is frightening. It is terrible for the parents to think that a child would not want to partake in any of the activity that he or she sees, especially if they are seeing what the parents are doing is deemed acceptable.

The Revolution became leftist and opposed social hierarchy  and the Republic wanted to be called Islamic. People couldn’t see that there was a secular  government forming. The government wanted to restrict the actions of people and the religious intent behind it.  People began to leave Iran the more they saw the unchanging hand of Iran. Although the Shah no longer ruled things took a dramatic change for the worse. Marjane’s mother questioned if they should leave too.  Marjane’s father was more concerned about “[becoming] a taxi driver and a cleaning lady” (64.2.3).  Marjane’s father insisted that “everyone who left [would] come back” (64.3.2). They are seen as hypocrites because they were afraid of change.  The Satrapi family were like frogs. They allowed the water to slowly cook them alive instead of acting first hand when the water was hot. They waited until the last minute after catastrophic situations occurred and now they’re stuck hoping for things to get better when life in Iran has only gotten worse. The Satrapi’s family friends house got bombed and “everything was destroyed” (90.2.1). The father’s only concern was about “the house [costing a million dollars and now it’s up in smoke]”  (90.3.1). Marjane’s father thought that he was too materialistic but they had a maid and a Cadillac. Marjane was incredibly upset about the deaths and casualties of the Iranian soldiers but her mother didn’t seem to care. Marjane asked her mother and she said “of course they [meant] something…but they [were] still living” (94.3.3).

In Iran fear was a way to obtain power. Internally Marjane’s family were fearful but wasn’t willing to start completely over with nothing. Throughout the comic book there are numerous pieces of evidence that one could classify them as heroes or hypocrites. Overall I think Marjane’s family were hypocrites and she was the only one aware of what was actually taking place, which is why she was never afraid to speak her mind. It wasn’t until Marjane was attacked that her parents were willing to allow her to gain her independence.

 

 

 

Marji’s Transformation

 

     Persepolis could be described as a revolutionary comic holding deeper meanings with deeper messages referring to the corruption in numerous countries government including the social classes and the effect it has on the people, essentially the poor, weak, or young, in this case Marji living in the conflict of Iran. Satrapi shows the corruption and complex ideologies of society through her younger self as she enters adolescence, displaying  Marji’s development over the years, clarifying confusion and the effect the conflict has as she experiences first hand the rebellion against the Shah, the war between Iran and Iraq, along with the take over of the regime – all taking their tole on her, loosing her friends and family throughout the novel.

In the beginning of the novel during the Shah’s reign, Marji didn’t understand the meaning of the veil, she just hated wearing it. As the novel goes on, Marji getting up in age, you see the confusion starts to clarify through her actions. The veil was part of the islamic cultures revolution, regime using the veil to try and control the women in Iran, to convert the women to the Islamic regimes culture.  Marji and her family opposed this regime, they believed the Islamic regime was corrupted, it being worse than the Shah’s reign. She wears the veil knowing  the danger that’ll come if she doesn’t, but starts making fun of the Islamic culture, toying with the veil and ends up getting suspended (97.1. 1 – 97.2. 2). The actions Marji performs on this page is significant because it displays her way of revolutionizing and where she stands in the cultural battle in Iran.

In society, the lower class suffers. The higher are able to have things that the lower classes aren’t, even human emotions , human freedoms, like love. The book itself addresses the problem between the two classes as you see throughout the book the little care that the higher classes have on the lower. They act selfishly, only worrying about them selves in a time of  crisis when they’re both fighting for the same thing: peace. This show of insensitive emotions develops in Marji’s mom character, Taji. At first, she seems to be a very strong spirited woman, a revolutionary standing up to the government for peace.  In the later chapter you see this change. She stops revolutionizing and standing up for what she believes in, becoming a hypocrite after wearing the veil even though she judged the women for happily wearing the veil across the street, it being the lower classes hope of recognition in society. Taji then turns around and tells Marji to lie and say that she prays everyday. (75. 2. 3 – 75. 4. 2).

Satrapi, experiencing these changing complex ideologies first hand develops her to be a rebellious child after she  struggles to understand why these philosophies exist, realizing the effects social class have on peoples lives and the corruption in the government.  Marji realizes this after the family’s maid, Mehri, is not able to see nor speak to her lover because they are from different social classes, Mehri being born poor. It angers Marji after seeing Mehri hurt and she doesn’t understand why social class matters, ” but is it her fault that she was born where she was born??” (37. 3. 1). The regimes philosophy that fear is the path to power is addressed with the passing of the rebels released from prison along with Marji’s hero, her uncle Anoosh. Anoosh was a rebel who went against the Shah when he was in power, going against the takeover of the regime as well. He believed that the regime was taking advantage of the after effect left by the Shah. Anoosh’s downfall was his misunderstanding on the situation saying that the religious leaders cannot maintain power for long. The regime went after him last, Anoosh  was executed following his arrest as the regime attempts to wipe out any resistance to their new form of government.  Satrapi struggles to cope with the all the deaths along with her friends leaving. She looked up to her uncle greatly, becoming more aggressive in her revolutionary tactics following the passing of her uncle and as more events take place. It becomes too much to handle, left confused, Marji kicks God out of her mind, wondering why he didn’t save them, blaming him for their deaths (70. 2. 1 – 70. 3. 2)

In Persepolis, the effect of Marji Satrapi’s internal struggles through the ages of 10 to 14 addresses the complex ideologies of the regime and helps her overcome the confu

In her review of Persepolis, Patricia Storace makes her opinion on the structure of the novel known, stating Satrapi’s text and images comment on each other, enhance each other, challenge, question, and reveal each other. It is not too fanciful to say that Satrapi, reading from right to left in her native Farsi, and from left to right in French, the language of her education, in which she wrote Persepolis, has found the precise medium to explore her double cultural heritage.” Storace also addresses the progression in regard to not only characters and dialogue but also with illustration, stating “In the cartoon world she creates, pictures function less as illustration than as records of action, a kind of visual journalism. On the other hand, dialogue and description, changing unpredictably in visual style and placement on the page within its balloons, advance frame by frame like the verbal equivalent of a movie.” There are multiple places in the novel where these particular observations that Storace made are obvious.  In the first chapter “The Veil” Marjane’s ideological but also limited views as a child are shown. On Page 7, Row 3, Panel 1, Marjane speaks to her grandmother on her desire to be a prophet. She has written a book full of rules that would be enforced if this desire was to ever be fulfilled. Her book includes rules such as everyone should own a car, maids should eat dinner at the table with the family and that no elderly people should suffer. Although at first glance these things seem as if they emphasize her childlike view on the world, but they in fact do the opposite. This specific section makes it clear that Marjane notices her privilege and this becomes prevalent later on in both cultural and social aspects of her life.  As the grip that the regime has on Iran grows tighter Marjane’s reality begins to shift. Every aspect of not only her life but the life of her peers and everyone else around her is controlled by the regime.  In the chapter “The Key” Marjane speaks to her mother about all the death that has come from the war, which is necessary to keep the regime in power. During the conversation Marjane’s asks her mother if she cared about the men dying in the war they had zero choice fighting in to which her mother responds “Of course they mean something to me! But we are still living!” On page 95, an illustration depicts Marjane and a group of her peers being forced to participate in  funeral march. She begins to think about her mother’s words spoken earlier about them still being alive. She tries to fill her thoughts with life but can’t seem to do so as her country is basically falling apart. Later on in the chapter young boys are being given plastic keys which have been spray painted gold. They are told that the keys would get them into heaven if they were lucky enough to die in war. They were convinced that there would be luxurious houses and women waiting for them. This book made clear the effects that the Regime had on Iran.

Marji is her own Woman!

Hi, welcome back to my blog! Today I would like to discuss a internationally awarded comic book that I found to be very moving. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi is her transcribed memoir of her late childhood life during the Islamic revolution. Throughout the mists of a cultural revolution in Iran ten year old Marji is trying her hardest to make sense of it all. Marji’s most desirable aspiration at this time in her life is to become Iran’s first female prophet. Although her peers find comedy in her future job (8.2.3) and her teacher tries to deter her (8.3.1), Marji feels as if they simply do not believe in her (8.2.1.). She yearns for equality, inclusivity, and a painless life for elders. Innocent and naive, Marji has entered into a life of havoc and chaos. All of the following events that become apparent throughout the novel, shapes the young woman she blossoms into before the conclusion of Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. In the beginning of this story the author introduces the primary setting as being in the height of the Islamic revolution. Abrupt changes occur within Marji’s life  that alters the way she once viewed it during the starting year of 1980. One of which was the most despised upon– the veils. Notably, many children who attended school with Marji did not understand why they were forced to wear a veil at school (3.3.1). This obligation ignited many people in Iran to protest for and against this law, which was said to be implemented to fight against capitalism. In Majri’s adolescent mind her mother was demonstrating power and courage to have been apart of this street protest (5.2.2). Marji also had a strong inherited belief that she was “born with religion” (6.1.3). This conflicted Marji’s distinction between deciding her stance of what was morally right or religiously wrong in relations to the veil (6.1.1). The world around her seems to be falling apart. Everyone is split between opinions and Marji hopes for the best outcome. Marji often relied on her parents opinions when considering and formulating  new ideologies. Seeking out for a primitive understanding from her parents, Marji slowly began to depend on her own justifications. At this point in Marji’s life the little things started to hold weight on her conscious. This signifies the early stages of Marji’s cultural awareness and development. For example, Marji expresses that she feels guilty for her father driving a Cadillac car (6.3.2). She also feels unsettled that the family’s maid is not allowed to sit and enjoy dinner with them (6.3.1). In the chapter The Letter, a lot of Marji’s questions receive answering (33.3.1). Marji comes to the conclusion that the reasoning for the Islamic revolution is the difference between social classes (33.3.2). She also has a self reflecting moment when she identifies that her own family allows social constrictions in their household, all the while fighting against it in their society. This symbolizes the maturity level that Marji has achieved.  In Marji’s mind this further clarifies the cause of the recent social and political ruckus in Iran. This knowledge prompts Marji to delve deeper into the way she personally feels and possibly redirects her outlook to be more critiquing than accepting. As Marji begins to stand for her own opinions on the cultural revolution she enlightens herself by reading (33.1.1). She now believes has a full grasp of the destructive power of social classes (37.3.1). This indefinitely infuriates Marji and persuades her to demonstrate against the Shah in power of Iran (38.1.3). Throughout the occasions in the duration of the revolution, Marji becomes her own empowered woman with her own perception of what a peaceful society encompasses. With the influences of her friends, family and beloved grandmother–who she held dear to her, Marji defiantly broke through the norms of what a young woman in Iran would be.

Projection of Major Dilemmas by Personal Conflicts in Persepolis

The novel Persepolis is a story of true events which took place in Iran in the 1980’s. The affairs of this book are narrated by the author of the book, Marjane Satrapi, in her adolescence. This point of view gives the audience insight on Marji’s thoughts throughout the book in addition to the what is happening, and with this, Marji’s personal conflicts are apparent to the reader. Marji’s confusion and problems throughout the story reveal much deeper meanings within the society around her, touching on the conflict of religion and modernism within her country, ways in which her government oppresses her and her fellow citizens, and communist ideals and social classes.

The complicated conflict between the extremely religious rule of the leaders of the regime in Iran and knowledge and other cultures is very much present in this novel. The first instance in which these two forces collide in Marji’s childhood is shortly after the Islamic Revolution when Marji experiences an internal conflict which stems from her “very religious” ideals and her family who is “very modern and avant-garde” (6.1.1). The polarity of these two idealisms is shown by the fact that she has to make a decision between the two. This sets the precedent of the problem between religion and modernism which is present throughout the novel and is reflected when a leader of the regime orders for all bilingual schools to be shut down and claims “they are symbols of capitalism” (4.2.2). It is necessary to shut down these bilingual schools for the regime in order to prevent modern ideas from spreading in Iran since these would combat the regime’s radical religious beliefs. Marji’s dilemma between extreme religion being combatted by modernism is not solved but is better understood by her as she grows older because of her encounter with extremists with her western possessions and  the consequences which resulted. This diminishing religion as a result of modernism is also represented subconsciously in Marji as loses touch with God as she becomes more engrossed with communists ideals and later western culture. Overall, Marji’s encounters with radical religion and modernism represent a bigger conflict between the two with the former being threatened by the latter.

The next dilemma in Iran is the oppression of the people under the regime. Marji experiences tactics of the government meant for the purpose of controlling people first hand. Marji’s first encounter with the regime’s attempt at gaining power over the people was the institution of the veil. Marji and her classmates first reaction to the veil was confusion and dislike since they “didn’t understand why” (3.3.1) they had to wear it. Later, Marji finds out that the veil is worn for religious reasons. The veil is important because it is a great example of how religion is used as a tactic to gain power by the regime and how it used in an attempt to eliminate doubt from the citizens. Later on, Marji is threatened by the soldiers using force against rioters. This is a strategy used by the government meant to take away the peoples’ right of speech and proves effective when Marji’s father says “Every man for themselves” (76.3.2) after their focus was diverted from the goal of the riot to the survival of themselves. Marji is introduced with another of the Republic’s schemes of wielding power over the people when she chimes into her dad and Anoosh’s conversation saying “On TV they say that 99.99% of the population voted for the Islamic Republic” (62.2.2). This remark is quickly shot down by her father, angrily, who claims the information is not scarcely accurate and this concept of manipulation is stupefying to Marji. Ater this event, Marji comes to a better understanding of the oppression in Iran and how it is achieved and this is shown when she argues that Iran has “gone from 3,000 prisoners under the Shah to 300,000 under the regime” (144.3.1) against her teachers claim that the under the Islamic Republic, the country “no longer has political prisoners” (144.1.1). Her realization of this lie shows that she understand that the government isn’t truthful. This is important because the false information the Republic gives out is just another device used by the government to oppress people but Marji’s rebellion motivated by her knowledge shows the threat informed people pose to the power of the regime and exactly why the government lies to the people. In summary, Marji’s confusion of different things put into place by the government shows what the the excuse of religion is supposed to protect from and Marji’s rebellion is what the regimes forms of oppression of the people are supposed to combat.

As the story progresses, Marji is introduced to communist ideals and the issue of social classes in Iran. Marji initially realizes the existence of social classes in Iran’s society when she says “I finally understood why I felt ashamed to sit in my father’s Cadillac” (33.3.1) after reading “all the books” she “could” (32.3.3) read on Marxism. Her confusion and oblivious nature of the lower social classes portrays the struggle of the Marxists in the story; the lower classes push for revolution to establish communism which is undermined by both the upper social classes and the greed of the people. Marji’s will to give up her dad’s Cadillac to be apart of this movement paints the problem stated before by painting it through the absurdity of Marji’s urge to do this. The widespread availability of books on communism to Marji portrays how ideas are spread so easily and Marji’s quick acceptance of these beliefs shows the problem with spreading idealisms to youth. Marji understands later in the book why communism is so hard to achieve when she says to herself “Niloufar was a real martyr, and her blood certainly did not feed our society’s veins” (146.3.1); this represents this bigger picture of why the communist revolution was so hard to achieve in Iran. Marji comes across another example of distinctive social classes and is confused when the man across the street who she loves loses interest after gaining knowledge about her social status. This gives the audience a feel of the widespread importance of social classes in Iran’s society and how relevant it is, to the point that it stretches beyond the economic realm and into other areas. Marji later leaves the country in order to maintain her high social status. This is important because it shows there is no simple resolution to the differences in social classes among the people in Iran because of the self greed of the more wealthy.

 

Politics and religion within Persepolis

When the regime takes over Iran in the book Persepolis, Western culture is suppressed, and almost barbaric practices are made into law. Women are not allowed to show hair and are required to keep covered to obey the law. People are not allowed to socialize at parties, nor are they allowed to drink alcohol. All of these policies are apparently attributed to religious meaning. Marjane’s mother even tells her daughter to lie about praying five times a day, so they do not get caught as “anti-Islamic”. Females are not allowed to go out without their veil. Marjane’s mother is humiliated by two fundamentalists when she dresses without a veil “They insulted me, they said women like me should be pushed up against the wall and fucked, and then thrown in the garbage” (The Trip, Pg. 74, Frame 4). “You showed your opposition to the regime by letting a few strands of hair show” (The Trip, Frame 1, pg. 75).

Western Culture:

Even universities close to prevent learning and free thought but this is obviously due to the regime’s prejudice against western culture, “That’s why we’re closing all the universities for a while. Better to have no students at all than to educate future imperialists”(The Trip, Pg.73, Frame 3). This draws similar idealism as to not teaching slaves how to read in case they should revolt. Iran outlaws almost every sense of western culture imaginable. Furthermore, when Marjane wears Nikes and a Michael Jackson pin; when the “Guardians of the Revolution” see her, they call her shoes “punk” and Michael Jackson a “symbol of decadence”. They sexualize and humiliate her as her mother was when she wasn’t wearing her veil, “Lower your scarf, you little whore!”(Kim Wilde, Pg. 133, Frame 7). After all, the Guardians of the Revolution are there to “… put us back on the straight and narrow by explaining the duties of Muslim women”(Kim Wilde, Pg. 133, Frame 1). These “duties” are created for Iran’s purpose of controlling the population, eliminating the idea of the free thinker. All of these stem from the excuses of religion but the underlying cause is actually for control.

Why does Iran want control?:

Iran’s goal is to have complete control over the population; why? The biggest reason that the Regime wants control over its population is to gain political power. Control over a population can create political activists, extremists, and soldiers.  Marjane’s uncle, Anoosh further explains how religion can influence a vast amount of people, “In a country where half the population is illiterate you cannot unite the people around Marx” (Marx represents political and economic intelligence, something that illiterate people cannot possess if they cannot read his work) “The only thing that can really unite them is nationalism or a religious ethic” (The Sheep, Pg.62, Frame 2) Nationalism and religious ethic (these two being somewhat primal feelings) represent the blind following of a population, this is how Islam ends up controlling the vast majority of people. This is the primary reason that this chapter is titled, The Sheep.

What does Iran do with this political power? Iran chooses to manipulate the people with this type of religious control. The Regime convinces people to go out and fight for the country’s own gain, most of these fighters being trained as children. Each child was heartbreakingly given a key that “…if they went to war and they were lucky enough to die, this key would get them into heaven” (The Key, Pg. 99, Frame 4). The boys that are fighting are completely expendable to the government of Iran (their lives symbolized with plastic keys, not even metal). These children (much like how Marjane was in the beginning of the book towards the government) have easily moldable minds, ripe for control. When Marjane’s mother asks her nephew Shahab, a somewhat high-ranking military officer, if they actually recruited children, he replies, “They come from the poor areas, you can tell…first they convince them that the afterlife is even better than Disneyland, then they put them in a trance with all of their songs” “Its nuts! They hypnotize them and just toss them into battle. Absolute carnage” (The Key, Pg. 101, Frames 7-8). They “hypnotize” the children to become future soldiers. All these reasons are the literal definition of Islam, submission. Submission for a military, submission for laws that prohibit free thinking, submission for a country set to control its population to create political advantage in war.

 

Imperfect World

Persepolis is the story of Marjane Satrapi growing up in the turmoil of a country being metaphorically flipped on its head. Throughout her daily life, she notices the cracks in society that everyone wants to ignore. 2 stand out however, they both show the horrible side effects that both governments had on its people.

Before the Islamic revolution, Iran was ruled by a king known as The Shah, under him oil was funneled to the UK and US making him very rich while the people that actually drilled and refined the oil lived in squalor leading to a very distinct caste system. Under the Shah, life was horrible for most of the people but due to the influx of western culture, the people were, for all intents and purposes, free. It was under the Shah’s regime that the first crack I want to talk about, Mehri’s lost love. The Satrapi’s are definitely part of the upper class, this is illustrated by their maid, Mehri. When the Satrapi’s have dinner, Mehri cannot sit at the table with them, but during her early years staying with them, she came to believe that she was like a daughter to them. At the beginning of the revolution in 1978 however Mehri fell for their neighbor’s son. She wanted to send him letters but she was illiterate and asked Marjane to write them for her which Marjane happily agreed to. However her love was found out by Marjane’s father who went over to the neighbor’s house  and told their son that the girl who had been writing to him was not their daughter, but their made. The neighbor promptly gave Marjane’s father all the letters he’d received. This is when Marjane’s father tells Marjane that, “Because in this country you must stay within your own social class.”(Satrapi 37). This is the first crack Marjane points out, the fact that though her family fights against the social classes, he still follows them as does everyone else. Marjane points this out to prove the point of complacency, that even though her father may protest against the Shah, he benefits off how the current government is, he doesn’t really care about the social distance between the classes as he is shown to believe the poor should remain with the poor. This is not a problem exclusive to Marjane’s father however as if everyone truly did not like or respect the social class system, then there wouldn’t be a social class system, the upper class is complacent to let the lower class suffer as long as it doesn’t effect them.

However after the revolution, a new group is put in power that hates everything the last government was for. The fundamentalist Shiite Muslims now force everyone to follow the same beliefs as them. This leads to the lack of freedom that the Shah at least had a little bit of. It is during their rise to power that Marjane notices the next crack, the reason the government gives for the veil. When the new regime came into power they went on the tv saying, “Women’s hair emanates rays that excite men. That’s why they should cover their hair!” (74). claiming that women should cover their hair because, if they don’t, they will get raped and it’s going to be their fault. This is just absurd, that all men are one strand of hair away from raping a woman and while I know that all this is true, I believe that Marjane uses the absurdity of the situation as a way of critiquing the new regime. The separation of church and state is not an inherently bad thing especially seeing the regressive, backwards policies the Islamic regime is putting in place.

Persepolis Prompt #2

Marjane Satrapi’s comic memoir Persepolis tells the story of her childhood under not one, but two regimes. Under no authoritarian society will the people be entirely obedient, and the nation was starting to show cracks even before the Islamic Republic was instated. Under the Shah, there were huge class imbalances similar to those in America, and the disparity between the rich and poor was extreme. When the revolution against the Shah began, Satrapi’s parents were extremely involved, even though the Shah’s Iran is what allowed them to become so wealthy. Satrapi sees this as wrong; they have so much wealth, but still support the revolution, that they campaign for equality while not allowing for their maid to eat at the table. Her parents obviously support a socialist system, evident in their educating of Satrapi in Marxist ideologies, but benefit strongly from their capitalist culture, and they defend their possessions almost fanatically. When the eventual religious aspect bleeds into the revolution, and the veil becomes encouraged by the revolution, Satrapi’s neighbors become suddenly pious, wearing the full-body covering and professing how much they pray. Not only are Satrapi’s parents and neighbors hypocritical, but the revolution itself also becomes a mockery of what it was. The once enlightened people’s revolution slowly becomes a fundamentalist dictatorship, intent on crushing any hope for freedom. Those who were hailed as heroes of the revolution only months earlier were rounded up and executed, called traitors. Any hope for progress was halted as universities were closed, and the new Islamic Republic was ruled by force and fear. Those who were formerly disenfranchised were able to become someone important by simply being more religious than everyone else, or at least pretending to be. The people as a whole could have their beliefs, but as soon as money or power was involved, those ideals went out the window. Everyone Satrapi knew was a hypocrite in some way or another, as that society perpetuated opportunity for those willing to give up on their integrity.

Finally, the revolution was really and truly over and the Islamic Republic was in full swing. The people were ignored, polls were falsified, and children were forced to fight and die for the promises of a heaven that was just as fake as the keys around their necks. Instead of listening to the government and doing what’s best for themselves at the cost of their own beliefs, the people decided it was time to rebel and throw parties. The regime created by hypocrisy was hated by the people that were complicit in its creation. So, the people throw parties, make bootleg wine, play chess, and smuggle posters into Iran inside coats. People want to do what’s best for themselves, and the new government is made up of people that abandoned morality and sense, and only focused on their own success. The guardians of the revolution, made up almost entirely of the formerly disenfranchised, all are succeeding now because of the lies they tell, elevating their status well beyond anything they could have done without abandoning their ideals. Thousands of children are tricked into fighting a war that only exists to maintain the regime’s momentum. Satrapi’s parents see no more opportunity for themselves, or for Satrapi, in this new Iran so they resist in the best way that they can. Persepolis makes it clear that Satrapi disapproved of her own parents’ hypocrisy, and it shows how their eventual distaste of the government was inevitable. When their hypocrisy is laid bare and pointless, and their strange mix of idealism and patriotism is finally crushed, they realize what kind of country they have stayed in, and send Satrapi away. They see how the society around them is crumbling like the buildings around them crumble from bombings, caused by their, and many others’, inane self-interest.

Persepolis

Marji and her family have many contrasting views with their governments. Marji and her family hated the Shah, yet only Marji wanted to fight against the Shah, while her parents wanted to stay out of it so that they would not get hurt by the soldiers. After learning about the burning of Rex Cinema on page 14, her parents agreed that there should be a demonstration, but they did not want to get involved with it, though after Marji eavesdrops on their conversation, she starts to dress up and says that she wants to participate in the demonstration and revolt against the Shah, but her parents would not let her because of the violence against those that participate in the demonstration. They then contradicted themselves by going to demonstrations the day after they said that Marji cannot participate, which I feel is hypocritical that they would do that. Later when Marji wants to play monopoly, but her parents are too tired to play, she started to argue with them about the Shah being choose by God, which her parents know that the Shah was not chosen by God but was put into power by soldiers. Her dad then went into the story of how the current Shah’s father got into power on page 21, and how God had nothing to do with his gain in power. He then talked about Mari’s grandfather and how he opposed the Shah. Marji and her grandmother talked about the Shah took everything away from her so she lived in poverty because of him, and she’s glad that they are opposing him. Then later in “The Letter” Marji is upset at her father because he ruined their maid’s relationship with their neighbor because he father told the neighbor about the maids social class, and even though they are against the Shah, her dad still believes in the social class, and then when Marji and the maid go out to a demonstration and Marji’s mom finds them, she slaps them both for going to the demonstration, though it is still good that she had found them due to the many casualties that day from the demonstration. Eventually the Shah loses his position in power and leaves, which will make way for the Regime to enter. When Marji goes to school, the teacher starts saying many different things and contradicts her teaching about the Shah, which confuses Marji as she learns the truth about the Shah. Her parents then talk about their neighbors, which on page 44 say that a spot that has always been on the wife’s cheek was where a bullet almost hit her, which her mother says later, “What nerve! She always had that nasty spot. If we weren’t neighbors, he would have said she’s a martyr raised from the dead” (44.3.1). Her mother disagrees with them now and criticizes all the people that called “hurt” people or people injured from a different causes, Martyrs. Once the regime starts shutting things down, Marji’s mother starts panicking and starts talking about the possibility of them forcing women to wear the veil and trading in cars for camels. Her parents also talks about the neighbors after the veil is enforced to be worn, and how it changed them from wearing miniskirts and now she is wearing the veil and the rest of the outfit required. Then also about an alcoholic neighbor that now has changed and punishes himself for even saying the word alcohol. Marji sees the praying thing as a competition against the other people at her school, and her parents want her to lie about praying. Also, there are demonstrations again, against the veils, and this time her mother lets Marji join along, even though it still ended violent, which again is hypocritical of them. Then later when Marji starts rebelling against her school she starts getting in more and more trouble. Her parents had to confront her on it and her dad thinks that what Marji is doing is alright at first, but then after Marji’s mom explains what would happen if she would be up for execution as a virgin, her dad then agrees with Marji’s mom, which is why to keep her out of trouble they send her to Austria so she wouldn’t have to deal with the Regime’s unfair treatment. Overall I think that her and her parents were mostly hypocritical, though they still did have some heroic parts about them and some of them did great stuff, I still think that they should not have contradicted themselves and they could’ve dealt with certain topics a bit better than they did.

Persepolis

In the novel Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi we see the author herself face many internal conflicts. Stated from the prompt William Faulkner famously said, “The only thing worth writing about is the human heart in conflict with itself.” which is exactly what we see here in Persepolis.  Early on we see Marji begin to have internal conflicts with herself. The first major one we see is between her and her faith. The novel starts off by expressing how important faith is to Marji, and how she uses it in her every day life.  From a young age Marji would talk to God every night and claimed she was born with religion.  She was afraid that people would judge her not only in school but society because she wanted to become a prophet.  After the multiple unfortunate evets like; her uncle being executed, she told God who was once very close and comforting to her to get out because he wasn’t welcome in her life anymore. Marji is stuck between God calling her to continue on with her path and become a prophet and fitting in with the rest of society and her own family. Marji also a young girl in her environment. She is not understanding the reasons to which things go the way they do in her society. Marji finds safety in her faith and this feeling is lost when the political violence begins to arise in Iran.  She begins to look into Karl Marx and her faith weakens even more. Now Marji feels as if she is begin pull one way but also another and she has to decide what to do. The question she begins to ask herself is “do I go back to what I’ve known my whole life… God or do I give into society so I don’t have to worry?” As any young teen would do when having to chose between two things, she looks to her parents. As Marji starts becoming apart of the revolution with her parents, God gets father away from her. When she begins to dive full force into the revolution her conversations with God become less frequent and not really a true conversation. She is battling this self destruct because she knows if she turns to God she will be letting her family down but if she turns to the revolution she will be letting God down.  Another internal conflict Marji faced is the need to be related to any activity concerning the war. Marji rebelled, and often admired those who did. Marji fabricated stories of her father’s imprisonment in order to impress her friends. Also, Marji showed much admiration for her uncle Anoosh who had been imprisoned, and readers were able to witness there special bond up until the time he was executed. She didn’t have the chance to live her life as a child during the Iran revolution. She had to grow up quickly to become a mature adult before she reached the average age because she felt that it was necessary for her to be able to take care of herself during the Iran revolution. Because of this she recognizes that death is no longer a hero,  but that it was apart of the revolution and it is no help for society. This is a prime example of how her maturing at a younger age has effect her adulthood. The last and final internal conflict that I thought was most important is the veil. The veil is used  to develop Marji as a dynamic character. The veil confused Marji about her identity. “Half of your characters are women without veils, seated on the backs of all sorts of real or mythic animals. We can see their shapes and their hair!” (177). In this quote, the veil is used to represent how conservative and controlling society had become in Iran. In Marji’s case, it is another form of encouragement to leave Iran. Overall these challenges that Marji face in the book shapes who she is later on. She realizes what she wants and what she doesn’t want. She realizes some things she did when she was younger didn’t matter now. I enjoyed this book and I would definitely recommend it to someone else because of the development of Marji.

Religion

In the book Persepolis, a young girl writes about how she spent her childhood growing up in the country of Iran. Her story takes her from when she was a little girl up into her teenage years and how the regime that took over her country has shaped her into the person she is. This regime was very brutal in accomplishing their goals and they did not care who stepped in their way. This regime saw how weak the country of Iran was becoming under the Shah, and they took advantage of that weakness. They started what would be known as the Revolution. This Revolution tore the country apart more than it already was. The regime was brutal and beat and harassed anyone who disagreed with them, and this went on for approximately one year. Once the regime took power over Iran, they used their religious beliefs as an excuse for what they have done to the country of Iran. They began to force women to wear veils over their face in accordance with the Islamic culture and religion. (The Veil, page 7) Any woman who was caught not in accordance with their new wardrobe laws were brutally beaten and sometimes killed or raped, “They insulted me. They said that women like me should be pushed up against a wall and fucked. And then thrown in the garbage.” The regime however did not impose any new laws on the men in the country. A new group came to be during this time known as the Guardians of the Revolution. They were formed to create “peace and order” on the streets, when they were there to make sure that everyone was in accordance with the Islamic culture. Any western influence was strictly forbidden in this country during this time. Anything that resembled something that could come from somewhere in the west was taken and forbidden. Anyone caught entering the country with western styles was arrested and beaten. The religious aspirations of the regime are the most identifiable aspect of their rule over the country of Iran. Although the religious aspirations of the regime are strong, they also had political aspirations. They wanted to be able to have a more conservative and traditional country than before. They wanted to go back to being a mostly agricultural country, whereas before the regime came into power the country had very quickly become a modern, industrial and urban country. Throughout the book there are stronger views on religion than on anything else. They care more about how people are dressed and how they look than how the economy is being run or the political side of running a government. They focus heavily on how much western influence is present in the country and they make it a goal to get rid absolutely anything that is western and that becomes their main goal. At airports bags are searched for anything that might have possibly come from the west and anyone who is found with these items are arrested and brutally tortured.

The Motivations of the Regime in Persepolis

At the beginning of the Regime’s power, most of the laws that were passed were based on religion. They justified the removal of the Shah by denouncing western culture and incorporating Islam into the government. The longer the Regime stayed in power, the less religion had to do with their actions and the more politically motivated they were. The conflict with Iraq also increased this change in aspirations. Towards the end of Persepolis, the Regime focused more on the amount of power they could have and less on the religious view on their actions, but also how their actions were affecting the people of Iran.

When the Regime went into power in 1980, they incorporated religion in government. The Regime used Islam to get into power and then used it to influence the people submitting to their power to justify all their actions. One of the first actions the Regime began to enforce was the veil. Women were required to wear a veil that would cover their head and not show hair. Men did not have to follow such a strict dress code, they just usually had full beards since Islam did not promote shaving. The veil, though, became a very violent topic in Iran. From the moment that the Regime required the veil, demonstrations sprouted in favor and against it. Many of the protests against the veil would turn violent, with the men in attendance forcing them to wear the veil by assaulting them with bats. Another rule the Regime imposed was prohibited the Iran national anthem from playing. The Regime removed it and it was “replaced by the new government’s Islamic hymn” (83.1.2). These leaders were so determined to keep Islam in society that “everything [was] revised” in the schools to prevent the students from being “led astray from the true path of Islam” (73.2.1). Additionally, the Regime pushed to make it seem that they were these amazing leaders that were in power because of Islam. They had influenced Islam into the country much more significantly than what it was under the Shah. Citizens of Iran were required to beat their chests with their fists in honor of the soldiers that had died; it was considered “one of the country’s rituals” (96.3.1). Though, some of these people took it farther then that, and would hit themselves very hard, or use objects such as chains during the ceremony. While most of the war efforts were politically motivated, the Regime still found a way to incorporate Islam into it. In an attempt to recruit more soldiers for the war, the Regime targeted the youth in poor areas. To appeal to this demographic, the Regime would tell them that “in paradise there will be plenty of food, women and houses made of gold and diamonds” (100.1.1). All of these things sounded nice to the kids, so they would agree to join the war and fight for Iran. Islam was always incorporated into the actions of the Regime. They began with mandating veils and other forms of dress codes, then moved to Islamic hymns and only permitting the teachings of Islam in schools. Once these were in place, the Regime moved to peculiar ways of honoring soldiers and then influenced the children to join the war because of the religion. The determination of this religious influence diminished the longer the Regime was in power, and their motivations strayed away from Islam and more towards authority and politics.

The Regime began to use the authority they gained since the beginning to move forward with political advancements, especially as it related to the war with Iraq. It began with Iran being bombed. Shortly thereafter, several people that followed the Regime took over the United States Embassy that was in Iran and took hostage of several of the Americans that were inside. Continuing in the war, Iran retaliated, and Iraq continued their efforts to advance in Iran, which is when the Regime decided to push back in full force. The Iraqi army invaded the Iranian city of Khorramshahr, and while this was in issue, there was not a great deal of fear, mainly because “Iran had a huge reservoir of potential soldiers”, referencing the students they would later draft into the war (94.1.1). The Regime, which controlled the media, would report that they had these major triumphs in the war, such as destroying a large arsenal of the Iraqi army. The motivations of the Regime were clear after Iraq proposed a peace offering and the Iranian government “declared that we refuse this imposed peace” (114.3.2). Had they taken this peace offering, so many tragedies would have been prevented, but the Regime was against it because they wanted the power associated with the war. Additionally, it was later revealed “that the survival of the Regime depended on the war”, which explains why they refused to accept the peace offer from Iraq: they wanted to remain in the authoritative government positions (116.1.1). As the war raged on, so did the repression from the Regime. Anyone that opposed the Regime were grouped together, arrested, and then executed. The Regime also used their political motivations to alter what was taught in schools, similar to what they did with their religious motivations. Students were taught that under the Regime, Iran “no longer [had] political prisoners”, but in fact the number of political prisoners while the Regime was in power had increased by a hundred percent compared to the numbers during the Shah’s reign (144.1.1). The Regime wanted to indoctrinate the children into believing they were the better form of government, which is also why they executed people that spoke out against them: they did not want to risk the truth getting out. This is exactly why they continued to fight in the war with Iraq, they wanted to prevent them from losing power, whether from an external source, like Iraq, or an internal source, like those that would protest the actions of the Regime.

The actions of the Regime in the start were motivated by the religious beliefs that they held. The Regime required veils and changed what was produced to meet their agenda, such as the national anthem being changed with a religious hymn and what students were taught to make sure they followed Islam. Though, as Iran and Iraq engaged in war, the thoughts of the Regime moved farther away from promoting Islam and their political motivations became prominent. The Regime resisted a peace offering and executed people that spoke out against them to make sure they remained in power. Neither of the two were more prominent then the other, the Regime utilized both aspirations during their time in power to promote their agenda.

Confliction on Religion in Marji’s Family

In the book, Persepolis, Marji and her family live by many rules in religion. They do not abide by many of them. In the very beginning of the book, Iran is following the religion of Shah. After the Islamic revolution they now fall into the regime religion, this is where the veil started and the schools now turned from being a “non religious school” as stated on page 4, to the schools being separated and the students, girls,  having to wear their veils. On page 19 Marji says that the king was chosen by god. Her dad wonders were this idea came from and she says that she saw it in the books at her school. Her dad is upset about this and tells her the  way that he knows it as, all of this takes lace on pages 19 and 21. This idea of having to wear the veil really upset Marji’s mother. She went to demonstrations about it and protested for not having to wear it. This was apart of their religion in the country in which the live. Marji’s mom was very involved with the demonstrations downtown, which were against the veil. This veil is apart of the regime religion. Marji and her mother believed  that they should not have to wear the veil, especially Marji. Marji, unlike her parents was very religions. She talked to God many nights and wanted to become a prophet when she got older. Her parents were stunned by this idea but they just sort of ignored it. She had a holy book of Zarathustra. She claimed the wanted to participate in those activities as it is states on page 7, “I also wanted us to celebrate the traditional Zarathustra holidays. Like the fire ceremony.” Marji’s grandmother was the only other person who knew she had this book an read it very often. The “rules” in the book were very different, and you could  even say the opposite, of how Marji and her family lived.  The parents of Marji in my eyes are seen to be two people who want freedom. They express in many ways how they don’t like the religion that they are being forced to follow. One example would be how there is no parties allowed but they decide to go to one anyway. They almost get caught doing this but get out of it somehow.  They also lie about religion, Marji is asked how many times a day she prays, she lies and says 12. Lying about how they do things is a way to cover up the fact that they don’t have religion like the rest of the people. I believe that they want to be freed and have religion like the Americans do. They just want freedom to do as they please and do live life like they want to. They also just want what is best for Marji.  This is why I could classify them as heroes. They do what they can to protect Marji from all of the bad things going on in their country.  However, Marji’s father can be described as a hypocrite. He believes that everyone should be equal but he does not show this. He puts out there that there are different classes and everyone should stay in the one that they are in.  This is shown through the whole story because they have a maid. This is very hypocritical of the father. In the end I would judge  Marji’s parents as heroes. They eventually in the end they buy her things from the trip that are not basic Iranian things. This makes her happy and she can embrace her true self. They also let her leave and go to Europe.  As soon as she is leaving her dad says, “You’ve got to go now. Don’t forget who you are and where you came from.” They want her to be the best person she can and show the world who she is. This is why in my opinion they can be judged as heroes. They raise Marji to do what she wants to do in life and no be afraid to be who she is or be ashamed of where she came from.

Persepolis Blog

The art in Persepolis truly brings out this uniqueness and personality to Satrapi’s work. It has this humble look to it that makes it seems so innocent so when the tone shifts it doesn’t take away from the story, no matter how abruptly it changes. From heartfelt and peaceful moments to disturbing and painful imagery, the art always hits home and gives the reader an idea of the life that Marjane Satrapi has been through. That is another thing the art does right, it keeps the setting familiar to the reader despite it taking place in a society with issues that may seem foreign to us but makes us think about the similarities between our problems.

On Page 71, in the chapter, “The Sheep”, Satrapi has illustrated her feelings once she had learned that her beloved uncle was executed. The image shows Marjane drifting in space, her eyes staring upward, as though she’s hoping her uncle has made it to Heaven. She wonders how life could get any more dreadful, till she hears her parents yelling, “Marji, run to the basement! We’re being bombed!” She has no immediate reaction to this, giving off the impression that she somehow knew things could get worse. This is a very relatable illustration as we as humans have all felt hopeless and depressed at one point in our lives. This panel does a fantastic job at illustrating those feelings in a simple yet deep manner.

Page 77, in the chapter, “The Trip”, another illustration that stands out makes its appearance. This time however Marjane is with her parents, as she looks back fondly on the trip to Italy they took after Uncle Anoosh’s passing. She and her family sit on a flying carpet, a reference to Walt Disney’s Aladdin, helping to illustrate the sensation of freedom, and they fly pass Italian landmarks and statues, helping to give diversity to the setting. Even the wind blows with ferocity yet it seems calm, as if to help give the characters a sense of being alive and exhilarated but peaceful and relaxed at the same time. This panel is a prime example of how Satrapi can really illustrate the good times and how her art can have this incredible range to it. It definitely grasps the reader’s attention and is drawn as though to remind the reader that life isn’t always so gloom; it will have moments of excitement and happiness that we can look back on and cherish when times get rough.

Page 102, in the chapter, “The Key”, is one that really demonstrates Satrapi’s ability to shift tones almost instantly. This panel presents this raw, untamed, and brutal image of the deaths of thousands of children. Terrified silhouettes disappear into the fiery abyss of a minefield with all hope escaping from their minds. That is what really makes this image painful is the keys tied around their necks, those keys which symbolize hope for a long, rewarding, and peaceful life, becoming all that would remain of these poor souls. The keys really do bring the image together as they really make the situation that their bearers are in utterly hopeless. Satrapi really draws the line from what she’s been through to what the reader has been through, to evoke fear into the reader, and that fear will hopefully give them even the smallest fraction of the sheer terror that those kids had once they realized that they were never going to live a long and rewarding life.

 

The Act of Hypocrisy to Protect Loved Ones

Hey everyone! Today I’m discussing the hypocrisy of Marji’s parent’s in efforts to protect the innocence of Marji.

In the comic, Persepolis, written by Marjane Satrapi, Marji and her family lived within Iran during the wild events of the Islamic Revolution. The Satrapi family was quite unconventional in terms of their beliefs towards Iranian culture. The family opposed to actions of the Shah as well as the Regime. All of the Satrapi family has learned to assimilate to the culture externally by abiding by the rules…except Marji. As a child living during the Islamic Revolution, Marji did not have a full understanding of the world around her. She sought clarification in her parents and when she realized they did not lean towards the Regime or the Shah, she was even more confused (Satrapi 6.1.1) and sought her own understanding. Mrs. Satrapi even referred to the Shah as the devil while her husband encouraged them that they celebrate in honor of his departure (43.3.1).  Marji’s mother feared for the safety of her daughter because she knew that she was outspoken in a world of strict matters. Mrs. Satrapi told Marji to act as if she was religious in the public so that people would not question her political stance within society as a woman (75.3.2). She even goes on to tell Marji that it is imperative that she forgive her peers despite their non-religious background. Marji’s mother also stated that it is not their place to fight for justice (46.2.1). Later in the comic, Marji and her mother begin to protest against the rules of the Regime. This is quite hypocritical of Mrs. Satrapi but it is evident that she wants to protect the image of Marji and show her daughter that she must fight for her rights.  Although, as Marji comes into her own identity, she discovers the truth about her family and tries to use it to get out of certain situations (113.2.3). Marji’s father displayed his negative opinion regarding the Shah towards Marji so that she could understand the real history and not what she was taught in school.  He informed Marji that the Shah stripped her grandfather, who was a prince, of everything he owned (23.1.1).  We can thoroughly predict that Marji’s family fears how the public may react if they find out their true internal thoughts about the Regime and the Shah. Marji’s parents were fully aware of their privilege in Iran and did not want to leave the town because they feared they would not live in prosperity in the United States. At one point during the revolution, 110 tumans were equal to 1 dollar in the United States (138.1.3) and Mr. and Mrs. Satrapi were still stacking up on groceries and partying illegally (109.2.1). Did they have many flaws within their lives? Sure, they did.  They knew that they could get away with situations other people within their community could not and they used it to their advantage. They were not brainwashed by the ways of the Regime and they understood the truth behind the history of the Shah.  They did not externally fear the Regime but they internally did for themselves and especially their daughter, Marji.

Persepolis

In the most recently read novel for class Persepolis, the Regime had both political and religious goals, and in my opinion, their political goals were much stronger. In Persepolis, the Regime was the government that was present at the time the story was taking place, and the Regimes goal had plenty of religious and political goals, although the political was the most important part. Their religious goals were more of a cover for their political goals, as the best way to have power over a people or a country is to use religion. The Islamic religion was meant to make the people of the country compliment with the government’s will, as using the name of God is useful in making people do what they want. Religion would make women wear veils with the reasoning that it was protection for them. The veils would help women as they would protect them from the eyes of other men, but it was one of the many things that took power away from women. What the veil really did was make men much more powerful, as it allowed them to have more freedom than women. 

Having more freedom meant they could continue to make the rules themselves, taking even more power away and giving it to the religion that everyone followed. Since the religion was giving more power to men they followed it harder, which meant they were even easier to influence by the government as they had the power of god on their sides. The religion also frowned on modernism and western influence, as that gave more individualism and identity to the people, and that would make them more aware of what they were undergoing. The Islamic religion was just a front for the political goals, and that made political goals the main focus for the Regime. The Regimes’ political goal was to stay in power and keep the people ignorant. The religion kept the people ignorant which, in turn, made it so the Regime could keep its power. The Regime had no other real political goals as all they wanted was to stay on top for as long as they could.

Any other political goal was either fronted as religious r some way to keep anyone else from interacting with the people. The Regime tried to seclude the people with their political goals of trade and conflict, but it was all to keep themselves from losing power. When religion kept the people in check, the political side would be working to keep other parts of the world from deterring the people from following the religion. Now over time, the religious side would backfire on them as not all influences from other places could be stopped, and the religion was displeasing to most people. Though regardless even when the religion was faulty at parts, they would use the political power that they had kept to get rid of anyone with the excuse of religion and it would, in turn, let them stay in power even longer. The regime was unstoppable as everyone who followed the religion had no need to go against them or was unable to, and anyone who didn’t follow the religion was killed, put in prison, or had to escape from the country. Using this system the Regime could keep their power for a long time because of how religion was used for their political goal.

Persepolis: Autobiography of a Troubling Childhood

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi is an autobiography of a young girl growing up in a country before and during a revolution.  Marjane faces many issues as she reaches her teenage years, and she begins to realize real-world issues at a much younger age. She starts to face issues with death, religion, and identity, all while trying to keep herself safe under a corrupted government. Marjane’s experiences can be summarized in a quote given by William Faulkner: “The only thing worth writing about is the human heart in conflict with itself.”

Marjane is seen talking to her idea of “God” in multiple panels throughout the beginning of the book. When Marjane’s teacher asks her what she wishes to be in the future, she replies with “I’ll be a prophet” (8.2.2.). She is so set on being actively religious that it becomes one of the most important values of her early childhood. This soon comes to pass as one of Marji’s favorite family members dies from a suspected Iranian execution, and it is covered up as a death of a “Russian spy” (70.1.1). As Marjane’s version of God approaches her, she begins to resent him for taking away someone so special to her. The death of Marji’s uncle is the first significant death in her life, and opens her up to a vulgar and dark reality that is soon to come. On page 70, panel one on row three, Marjane yells “Shut up, you! Get out of my life! I never want to see you again!” She is quick to remove God from her life, because she had trusted him so deeply that he would keep her and her family protected. It seems that in Marji’s story, no one can be truly protected from the Iranian government.

The mentioning of Marjane’s uncle’s execution continues as the Iranian government becomes stricter and children are taught from a young age to respect the government’s every demand. Marji gets expelled from one school for speaking her mind against the government, and she risks suspension from another school when she mentions the Iranian government executing her uncle. “My uncle was imprisoned by the Shah’s regime, but it was the Islamic regime that ordered his execution” (144.2.1). Marjane’s experience with a loved one’s death made her aware of the government’s secrets, especially since her uncle was also very quick to speak the truth.

Death in Marjane’s life did not stop with family, but it continued with her friends and neighbors. On page 142, one of Marji’s best friends, her neighbor, died when a missile hit the building and it collapsed on the family. The last panel of page 142 fades to black as Marji’s world seems to change. As seen above, she begins to act out more in school and does not hesitate to speak her mind. Her personal experiences in a corrupted world have shaped her to have a rebellious identity.

Marji struggles with her identity and begins to show rebellion when she smuggles music tapes and dresses outside of the country’s dress code. Marji faces issues with dress code when she is caught wearing “punk” shoes and jeans on page 133. She adapts to a more western way of thinking, influenced by the western media that she often witnesses. Marji was already so self aware from a very young age, and she does not want to suppress her interests and the way she looks. It could be that Marjane already has to hide so much disaster in her life that her identity is one of the few things she has the dignity to show, and the government is trying to take it away.

Marjane Satrapi faces many struggles throughout her childhood that crawl into her adulthood, never escaping her. She witnessed a lot more than other girls did her age – death, violence, social struggles, identity, and religion. Marjane’s battles with herself show the effect that a controlling country can have on the youth, especially when the youth does not agree with such hatred. Her experiences in Iran during a revolution made her individualistic and offered an amazing story of awareness to share with the entire world.

Cracks

Throughout Marjane Satrapi’s tragic life of constant government corruption and revolution in her home country of Iran, she is a rebellious girl who fights back for wat she believes in. In the memoir Persepolis, the author Marji Satrapi is described as “a  scavenger of daily incident, spotting the tiny and notsotiny cracks in society during and after the revolution.” Satrapi uses these “cracks” to exploit the theme of rebellion throughout her memoir to not only make her story about her childhood, but about her development and change as a rebel. One of these “cracks” that we see during the revolution is the mockery shown to the veils on page 1 of the story. As soon as we kick off the book, we are shown a picture of the first time the new generation of Iran rebels against their government, the Shah. The Shah had told the women of Iran that they would have to wear the veils over their heads for their religion, and that is where we see the struggle of rebellion come into Satrapi’s head. Satrapi says on page six, ” I really don’t know what to think of the veil, deep down I was vey religious but at the same time as a family we were very modern and Avant-grade.” We see the internal struggle within Satrapi because she wants to listen and do as the ones above her tell her to do, but at the same time she is challenged by wanting to fit in with everyone else as they mock the veil to the point that the girls in her school use it as a jump rope. This inner struggle of not knowing if Satrapi should rebel changes after the Iran Revolution, as she now forms her own ideas and chooses to rebel for herself, and not just based off what her peers or family tells her. After the revolution, we are shown another “crack” when Satrapi chooses to rebel against her country by becoming in love with the Western culture and not the culture of her own. During the 1980’s, which is the time period Satrapi grew up in,  the Western influence spread like wild fire through the world as kids across the world fell in love with the music and clothing that originated from the United States during the time. With the spread of the Western influence in the middle east, countries like Iran began to ban the music and clothing that was from or inspired by the countries in the Western Hemisphere. We can see Satrapi on pages one hundred thirty-two and one hundred thirty-three, as she walks down a street that is filled with banned music being sold by people in cloaks trying to sell the contraband. Satrapi buys a tape of one of these men, and as she walks down the street in her fully American inspired outfit with tight jeans and a jean jacket, she is hollered down by women who only believe in the Iranian way of life set up by their government. They start to question her of her outfit and why she wears these things, but to their questions Satrapi begins to fire off excuse after excuse on why she wears clothing of the sort. After being told by this group of women that she was going to be taken to the committee, which is the place where rebels are held in prison and even beaten, Satrapi begins to beg the women to let her go home and not to go to the committee. While we see that Satrapi begins to make choices of her own to show rebellion as if she is all grown up, she still fears the consequences that come with her acting out against her country, and as she should for she is still a child in this story. It is still remarkable that we even se the change of being almost peer pressured into mocking the veil to now Satrapi was deciding for herself that she would wear what she wants to wear and not what the guidelines of her country of Iran tell her to wear. In conclusion, Satrapi exploits the “cracks” before and after the revolution to show her development as a rebel throughout the memoir of her childhood.

COADF: The blame is shared

In Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Santiago Nasar is a rich, young man living in the small town who some people may resent, but does that mean he should be…

…MURDERED????

 

Bayardo San Roman, a extremely rich young man comes to town one day, looking for a girl to marry. He finds one in Angela Vicario, who he asks to marry him, and she (probably pressured) into saying yes. But all turns to disaster on the wedding night when Bayardo returns Angela back to her home after finding out she’s not a virgin, and Angela’s family forces her to tell them the name of the man who “violated” her. She names Santiago Nasar, and due to the strict honor code everyone in this culture has to follow, Angela’s brothers set out to murder Santiago to restore their family’s honor. The brothers eventually find Santiago and butcher him right outside his own house with everyone watching. All of this sounds normal except for one thing, the brothers obviously didn’t want to kill him. It is stated the night before that the brothers and Santiago went out to celebrate Angela getting married and this is on top of the fact that the brothers told literally everyone in the town that they were looking for him to go murder him. Though not one person warns Santiago or steps in to help.

This is where I bring up my actual topic, my belief that the entire town is responsible for the death of Santiago Nasar. In the book, very few people were unaware that this murder was about to take place, almost everyone that Garcia-Marquez interviews says that they were told beforehand that the brothers were looking to murder him. On top of the fact of everyone knowing and no one telling him, when the brothers begin their attack, everyone forms a circle and just watches them do it. When the brothers are being prosecuted, they rest their defense on the principle that they had to “defend their honor” by murdering an innocent man. When the brothers are sent to prison, they only get three years and then are allowed to return to society. This also begins my rant about family honor. What is it, why is it so important to your brothers that your sister had sex with someone, assuming it was consensual no crime was committed, and due to evidence in the book, a very strong argument can be made that Santiago didn’t even commit the “crime”, but I digress. In the culture that they are in, honor is viewed as important above all, thus why the brothers had to murder one of their friends because he violated their honor. Other people directly encourage it as well, one of the brothers, Pablo, ends up marrying a girl from town, Prudencia Cotes, who states to Marquez that she wouldn’t have married him of he hadn’t killed Santiago. This paints a picture of a culture horribly twisted and stuck in the past, holding “honor” above human life and basic rights.

Gaslight, Gatekeep, Girlboss

Women wield so much power. This is not an opinion but others would argue that it is not a fact. The statement at hand is an observation. I only say this confidently because I am a woman. However, womanhood is a double edged sword that the women in Chronicle of a Death Foretold are burdened with. In the book, women are supposed to be submissive and childbearing. She must be a trophy: beautiful, impossible, silent. In their culture, she must also be a genuine virgin. To make matters worse, the ladies played into this scam of religion and purity. Men are competitive. That is not an opinion, but a fact. Sports, religion, war, and women are all examples of things that men have competed for. Now you may be wondering, “are you done observing (slandering) men in the name of feminism?” The answer is no because it’s fun and apparent in the text through religious and cultural norms. My point is that in Chronicle of a Death Foretold, it could be argued that men use women as pawns because they all want the best. Think about it, men want these beautiful subservient women at their side so they are the package deal: strong wealthy man and his beautiful lifeless wife. Santiago Nasar was handsome (I guess) and he had wealth and sex appeal. He also had a wife who was beautiful but the extent of her importance to the story only stretched as far as her getting cheated on with a priest of a prostitute. Redirecting back to the topic of cultural norms in Chronicle of a Death Foretold, men had the freedom to marry their trophy and sleep with their mistress with no shame. This principle was a double standard for women whom if they desired to be a rich man’s wife, they must remain pure and in tact. By far the most “gaslight, gatekeep, girlboss” moment in this book is not that Angela Vicario framed Santiago Nasar for her impurity. But the fact that her brothers were quick to determine that Santiago’s fate was death for deflowering their sister. Mind you, throughout the story the Vicario brothers go out of their way to warn people in town that they are going to kill this man in hopes that someone intervenes. This was not something that the brothers were doing out of sheer will but because this was the cultural standard. Angela had the power to say any name whether it was true or not true and either way one unlucky son of gun was gonna die at the hands of the Vicario brothers. This is power that women have. We hold the power to start and end careers with one allegation. We can point a finger to the guilty or the innocent and have a whole gang of men who are tied to us or that we’re mostly tied to, become the judge, jury, and executioner. Chronicle of a Death Foretold paints women as trophies and faithful servants but the other end of that sword puts men in compliance to a woman’s allegations and makes them committed to protecting her innocence. In a way, men will always be on the payroll of the woman in charge.

Chronicle of a Death Foretold

The most recent book assigned was Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and I thought it was pretty good. Unlike the past readings given, I didn’t love this book and it did bore me at times, but I did still love some of the absurdity. While the character names were difficult to remember as they were from a different culture, I could still recognize most of the names because their actions were so distinct that the names would have their actions stuck to them, cementing who they were. That helped with the reading immensely, because if I was unsure of who was who then it would no longer be absurd but it would instead be just a confusing read. I enjoyed the absurdity of events more than the absurdity of the writing, like when Santiago Nasar’s death finally came at the end of the story. Him walking so far through someone’s house, and even making coherent words was impossible and that made it enjoyable, and a little funny to me. 

The responses from the family whose house he walked through are what I thought was funny, as they simply thought that the smell was bad, or how he was handsome despite currently dying. I did also like the general theme of how not a single person was unaware that he was going to get killed, and how no one thought to tell him. They had all either not wanted to tell him, or had thought someone else already did, and that was another absurd event as that would never really happen. In reality, someone would have definitely told him, but regardless that did make it enjoyable to read for some odd reason. Now one thing I disliked was the order of events, which would be impossible to fix how the story is written, but whatever. Despite being a “chronicle” it was everything but because it was not in any kind of order. 

These events had all happened at or near the same time, so it is impossible for it to be a chronicle, and it made it really difficult to keep what was happening with who straight at times. I’m assuming the title was meant to not make sense, as the entire story is absurd, but It did still make it difficult to read. My last dislike is my personal opinion, and it has to do with the subject of the story itself, so it wasn’t something that could’ve been fixed. I wasn’t in love with the plot itself, and while I did have a laugh or bit of enjoyment at parts, it would still often bore me. I didn’t like the constant retelling of the story, and while I know that is the subject of the novel, I just wasn’t a huge fan of the way it was told. Not that I could tell it any better, or could even give a suggestion on how to. To summarize, It was a semi-enjoyable book, and while I would not pick it up on my own time to read, I think that it did have an interesting and unique way of telling its story.

Catholic Culture in Chronicle of a Death Foretold

When looking into the Catholic culture it can be seen that men have dominance over women in way that the women do whatever they are told and do not argue. Women are taught to stay pure with themselves up until marriage. They are not allowed to hold any position of authority, and are raised to take care of the man and the children and to clean the house. They are servants to men. All of this goes back to how men in Catholicism have asserted dominance over women. This culture is shown throughout most South American countries. This culture is heavily rooted in the minds and souls of this town. When a man named, Bayardo San Roman,  entered the town he was in search of a woman to marry him. This culture is so heavily rooted in men making all the decisions that when he sees Angela Vicario he says that is the woman that is going to marry me. The man decides who marries him or the marriage is arranged from birth. Women have absolutely no say in the matter. They are expected to submit to the man and do as they are told. When it is discovered that Angela Vicario has not kept her sexual purity she is “returned” to her family. An act such as this puts an enormous amount of shame upon the family. This puts such a large amount of shame on the family that she is beaten for it. The brothers, Pablo and Pedro demand to know the name of the man who did that to her. She came up with the first name that came to mind, Santiago Nasar. The brothers decide that the only way they restore their family’s honor is by taking the life of Santiago Nasar. Word quickly spreads through town about the act that is going to be taking place. Every one in the town is aware of the upcoming killing, everyone that is except for Santiago Nasar. When times comes for the brothers to kill Nasar they kill him in front of his own home. The stab him nearly 30 times against the front door of house. Every they stab him the knifes tears the door up. After the brothers commit the heinous act they go the church and drop the knives and say that they have killed a man but that they are innocent. They believe that they are innocent due to the fact that they believed they were doing that for the right reason; to restore honor to their family name. The deep rooted culture of Catholicism is the real reason for why they thought what they did was justified. If it weren’t for that culture then none of this would have ever happened. As time goes on the people of the town realize that what took place that day should never have happened. Their beliefs are so strong that they refuse to outright admit that it was wrong. The Catholic culture is so strong in their lives that they live their lives exactly how their beliefs say they should, with absolutely no margin for error, which ultimately led to the death of an innocent man.

Chronicle of a Death Foretold: The power of Angela Vicario’s voice

Hi everyone, welcome back to my blog.

Today I would like to analysis the narrative of a very prominent character in the novel Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel García Márquez.  Angela Vicario is the character that I am choosing to talk about; while exploring this character it is vital to understand the significance that follows her. Many readers argue that Angela has the most powerful female voice in the novel. But how much of this “power” does Angela truly hold? In the beginning stages of the novel we learn that the life of Santiago Nasar predicates on the honor of the Vicario family. Angela’s voice is introduced by her incriminating statement that she was seduced into losing her virginity to Santiago Nasar. Unfortunately, Santiago never receives true vindication, as he is vengefully murdered by Angela’s two brothers. As the reader is taken through this bout of truth narrated by an omnipresent character, it becomes evident that everything in the story happens because of Angela’s words. The name Angela is translated to mean “angel” which in itself serves as irony to her character. We can definitely conclude that by her actions Angela is no where close to the most agreeable definition of an angel. Side note: I also find that the biblical references throughout this literary piece to be very intriguing. Thus compels me to wonder if the author intended for Angela’s name to symbolize her satire failure to conform with the cultural femininity standards. The reason I would support this belief is because Angela, of course, loses her virginity before she is married. From a biblical standpoint we are aware that this is said to be a sin against your own body and unto God. But here again Angela exhibits non-angelic characteristics because we also know that an angel is considered to be a holistic innocent being. Nevertheless, the constant insertions of Bible references give the reader a more intensified viewpoint of the novel which makes for a great read. I would also like the make mention of the way that people in the town reacted to Angela’s false claims upon Santiago Nasar. As the pressure of confessing became unbearable to Angela she chose to place blame on Santiago not realizing how life threatening it would become. In the novel we learn that Angela and her sisters have been raised in a strict household. From a young child Angela knew the expectations of her future and seemingly stagnate position in life. Once Santiago’s name was smeared, he automatically gained a target on his back of which the whole entire town was aware of. In this case, Angela’s “voice” was over exerted and heard very clearly. In regards to Santiago, her silence had more volume than what she actually spoke. The lies that Angela spoke killed Santiago indeed but all the things she did not say had more control over the story’s plot and theme. The power of her words, along with the power of her silence played a enormous role in foretelling Santiago’s death. One of the key themes that I personally take away from this reading is the importance of our words, and how much silencing ourselves is equivalent to all the things we could say.

Criticism on Chronicle of a Death Foretold

In the book, Cornicle of a Death Foretold women are continuously looked down upon. . Throughout the story, women are being scrutinized for everything they do, and for just being women, and it is honestly scary to read about. As a woman, I relate to being discriminated against because of my sex, but this book takes it up a whole octave compared to what I have struggled with. When it comes to how Angela Vicario is treated after she admits that she was deflowered by Santiago Nasar, that is a new level of wrongful treatment in my eyes. I know that in religion that losing your virginity before marriage is a very wrongful sin that is very frowned upon, but to the extreme that it is taken to in the book is very scary. When Angela admits to her brothers that she had lost her virginity, they immediately wanted to kill Santiago. These brothers wanted to end a man’s life because he had sex with their sister, does anyone not see how traumatizing that can be as a girl, that the man you lost your innocence to be slaughtered by your own brothers? Imagine how painful it is for Angela, that her love to be killed by her own family, I could not be able to look at them the same, and that is how Angela’s family treats her. They shame her for losing her virginity and treat her as if she is a disgrace to the family. Then there is the man she almost was married to, Bayardo San Roman, who is the biggest snob to Angela after he finds out that she is not a virgin. Angela had lied to Bayardo until the day of their marriage that she was a virgin, and after they had slept together after their marriage, Bayardo had found out that she was not truly a virgin like she had made herself out to be the entire time, but that she had been lying to him the entire time before their arrangement. I understand why Bayardo would be mad at Angela, because no one in their right mind would want to be lied to for their entire relationship, at least I know that I would hate to be lied to until the day of my marriage, but to entirely drop her from your life the way he did is very toxic. Bayardo did not even try to talk to Angela about it, and just dropped her from his life for her to write to him for years. The way Angela held on to Bayardo shows the love that she has for people that she ends up sleeping with, because she was not as attracted to Bayardo until after she slept with him. If Angela wrote her love to Bayardo for four years and he never showed her any affection back, imagine how much love she had for Santiago, the man that was slaughtered by her own family just for having intercourse with her. In conclusion, as a woman who values her rights and how people treat her, the treatment of women in this book disgusts me and makes me scared for my future if this is how adults truly treat women.

Symbolism throughout Chronicle

The river that runs throughout the town carries symbols of time and otherworldliness. This river appears to be the only connection between the town and the rest of the world. Bayardo San Roman arrives on his riverboat mysteriously as if from another world. This river could also represent the flowing of time, which appears to be broken through false memories of the event that unfolds. Birds also seemingly symbolize danger. Santiago Nassar dreams of birds the day before his untimely death. “The pursuit of love is like falconry” Falconry is hunting through the use of birds to catch the pray. Like falconry, one has to be desperate in any means possible to catch the pray or the love that they seek. Flowers also carry symbolic weight, they symbolize death. The Vicaro brothers name their pigs the name of flowers to make it easier when they have to kill them. A lot of characters also possess the name of flowers, Flora Miguel, Divina Flor, Don Rogelio de la Flour. This could carry the same meaning of the brothers naming their pigs to make them easy to kill. The whole town is easy to kill because no one pays attention or cares. Bayardo San Roman also is afraid of flowers and does not want them during his wedding because it reminds him of death. Santiago Nassar dies stabbed through a door left hanging there, showing a close resemblance to Christ and his death on the cross. The bishop performing the autopsy with a first year med student shows the incompetence of the town, and the little care they have for the wellbeing of the autopsy. The bishop also shows more symbolism within his character. The bishop does not step foot into the town when he gives the blessing. In fact, he delivers it from the deck of his boat.

“What happened, according to her, was that the boat whistle let off a shower of compressed steam as it passed by the docks, and it soaked those who were closest to the edge. It was a fleeting illusion: the bishop began to make the sign of the cross in the air opposite the crowd on the pier, and he kept on doing it mechanically afterwards, without malice or inspiration, until the boat was lost from view and all that remained was the uproar of the roosters.”

The wellbeing of the town is attributed to the religion and code within it. To not report to the man that is about to be murdered out of honor creates a sort of creed. This being the whole reason the murder takes place and an innocent man dying.

Personal Thoughts: Chronicle of a Death Foretold

Chronicles of a Death Foretold is by far one of the most preposterous books I’ve ever read. I probably would have been more fond of this book if I would have established a relationship with one of the characters, but there were quit a few. As odd as that may sound, I feel that it is important to feel empathic and sympathetic towards a character. I felt no remorse for the killing of Santiago Nassar because of the inappropriate touching of Angela Vicario . I feel that this book is extremely similar to today’s society. Those that have a certain title that feel as if they have a sense of power always get away with murder. But, in this case he didn’t. Minorities in the book, just like today’s society, don’t feel sympathy for those that have done  distasteful things to those that didn’t deserve it. Angela Vicario was incredibly wrong for lying about who stole her honor, but she never imagined her brothers would be the ones to avenge her honor in return. In this society no one thought the Vicario twins would ever be a threat. One twin greatly influenced the other. I didn’t like that one twin greatly influenced the other because I would never allow someone to push me to do something so foul and unforgiveable. I do believe that the twins suffered while in jail. The twins both suffered from the action they had taken upon Santiago and they were beginning to have lucid dreams. One twin suffered from unbearable diarrhea and the other stayed awake for 11 months. Every time they tried to go to sleep it seemed as if they were committing the crime all over again.  Pura Vicario, their mother, asked Father Amador to confess his son’s while incarcerated, but the twins refused because they felt that they did not do anything wrong. In terms of how the killing of Santiago Nassar took place, I thought it was a little overdramatic. The twins repeatedly stabbed and sliced Santiago as if he were an animal. After he had been stabbed to death, Santiago was still somewhat capable of finding his way back home. As he was on the way back to his home he fell and his intestines fell out. Santiago was capable of getting up and he managed to wipe the dirt off as he continued to make his way back home. The concept of magical realism is upsetting because it makes me question the overall theme of the book.  In terms of Angela Vicario, she completely relocated because she felt ridiculed. After she relocated she became a seamstress who became obsessed with the though of her husband Bayardo San Roman who was truly the only innocent one. He had lost the honor of his wife and that deterred him from everything and everyone. After the two thousand letters that was written by his estranged wife he finally returns with a warm welcome saying “Well, here I am.” After seventeen years, he hadn’t opened one letter, but had strangely organized them by date and tied them in bundles. What a great way to end the book!

 

Chronicles of a Death Foretold

The book Chronicles of a Death Foretold contains important symbolism throughout the story. There is symbolism relating to religion and also superstition. This symbolism is hidden in things from clothing to names.

To start off with, Santiago Nasar’s name is the first example of symbolism present. This symbolism is contained within the translation of his name, which means “Patron Saint of Spain” and also “Protector”. This is important to the setting because this knowledge helps build the information the audience lacks in the beginning of the story when the reader is introduced into the main plotline of the story in the first sentence. The information the audience obtains through this translation of Santiago’s name helps shape the understanding of his character and contributes to the audience’s pacing. The next example of symbolism within a name is not one of much importance but is present in Divina Flor, which translates to “Divine Flower.” This translation offers a description of Divina Flor which is fitting with the way Santiago views her in her adolescence. The word flower represents her hormones which goes along with underlying presence of sexuality within the novel. This leads me to the next examples of symbolism: birds. The birds in the story are described to symbols of good health yet in two places they represent the opposite of that. In the beginning, Placido Linero tells Santiago that his dreams which contained birds in them were a sign of “good health” which ended up being wholly false with the murdering of Santiago laying shortly ahead. This symbolism was not majorly important since it was contradicting a event that was foretold but did have importance since it created the negative sense that was associated with birds after this point. Later on in the story the birds which are supposed to be a sign of the same “good health” are not. The white bird in Angela Vicario’s house is supposed to have a correlation with this positive omen, but is instead surrounded by Angela’s depression and distractions from life. The presence of this bird is importance because it gives the audience a supposed sense of positivity which can be attributed to Angela’s false sense of happiness which is caused by her embroidery obsession. The last and most important instance of symbolism in the novel deals once again with Santiago.  The use of different symbols such as his name develops Santiago as a representation of Christ in himself. The first representation of Santiago’s Christ-like figure is his white suit which he wore during the wedding. This is important because the white suit brings a sense of positivity with it which resonates within the audience. The last contribution to Santiago Nasar’s image is his death. In a report of his death, there were knife marks on the door which he was killed against which means that he was stabbed to the door in a similar fashion as Jesus was nailed to the cross. This allusion is important in opening the door for the connections between Santiago’s actions and their resemblance of Christ’s actions. Santiago’s death is an example of these resemblances since he was killed by the community’s wrong doings just as Jesus was killed for the sins of mankind.

 

 

The Impact of “Fatality Makes us Invisible”

In the novel, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, written by Gabriel Garcia Márquez, the depiction of magic realism is extremely evident throughout the text. Within the texts holds numerous accounts where situations occur that are not realistic in terms of actual life but we are subject to believe them since we are aware it is a fictional novel. The book is based around the murder of Santiago Nasar. The occurrence of his murder was known by every person in the town except Santiago, himself. Page 113 in the novel showcases on of the most intricate phrases in the book: “Fatality makes us invisible”. When I first read that phrase, the first thing that came to mind was the mind of Santiago Nasar and the townspeople. During the time of his fatality approaching, his mindful consciousness of the situation was completely gone due to lack of knowledge. Page 81 states that Santiago’s death was “a death for which we all could have been to blame”. That line shows that the anticipation and reasoning behind the murder of Santiago Nasar made people forget about morals and focus on the honor aspect of it. The intent of fatality against Santiago caused the people of his town to deem his existence invisible because of what they heard he had done.  At one point he even walked past the crowd of people that were gathered to witness his death and continued with his day while questioning their odd presence. The reality of the world was invisible to Santiago Nasar due to the financial and social status he claimed within the town. Everyone in the town was aware of his largely abnormal gun collection and the money that he obtained which hints the reason why Angela Vicario named him as a rapist. She felt as if no one was going to actually believe her because while Santiago did have some wrongdoings, overall the perception of him was positive. The fatality caused by the words of Angela wrongly accusing Santiago Nasar led to the invisibility of his true identity. The fatality of the lies masked the true florescent person Santiago was. The final scene of the novel incorporates one of the biggest concepts behind the phrase, “Fatality makes us invisible”. When Santiago Nasar made his final steps throughout the town, he visited his family at home. He had just been stabbed and assaulted by the Vicario brothers which, of course, made all of his clothing drenched in blood. As he walks to past his family, they stare at him in utter shock and fear. While they are aware of the state that Santiago Nasar is, they refuse to accept the fact in the moment due to emotions. Even though it is visibly obvious that Santiago is about to die, the family can barely react. The eldest daughter reacted to his presence, on page 120, saying, “Santiago Nasar walked with his usual good bearing…his Saracen face….was handsomer than ever.” Argénida saw past the reality of Nasar’s condition and saw him as the person  he was before the incident happened, making his current body invisible to her.

The Differences in Weddings

Weddings and the acts that are associated with them are vastly different between cultures. In Chronicle of a Death Foretold, the ceremony occurred at the residence of the Vicario family, with the reception following – that lasted several hours – and then the bride and groom ventured to their new home. Once there, they initiated in the actions of sex and completed said actions, but there was no stain on the bedsheet for the groom to put up in front of the town the following day, resulting in Angela Vicario being brought back home. In the United States, wedding ceremonies and receptions will usually occur at venues with several aspects which make the venue special for that couple. Afterwards, the bride and groom will be driven away from the venue and taken to a hotel room to spend the night. It is not uncommon for the couple to engage in sex while at the hotel room, but in no way is this act judged by whether the bedsheet becomes stained, nor is the bedsheet displayed for other people to see.

One of the factors that plays a role in these differences is the concept of virginity. While there are some people in the United States that presume virginity to be extremely important in a woman’s life, the cultures in South America tend to really emphasize this concept for the vast majority of the population. Virginity is taken so seriously that, as demonstrated in the book, if a woman loses her virginity before she is married then she is disciplined by her mother and the man that took their virginity is killed, or otherwise injured. No matter what, action is taken against both parties. In the United States this is relatively unlikely to happen, and if it were to happen the attackers would not receive such light sentences as the Vicario brothers did in Chronicle of a Death Foretold. South American countries form the concept of virginity to be so strict that the groom is supposed to show that a stain was made on the bedsheet to demonstrate the woman remained a virgin until the wedding day. Once again, this is unlikely to happen in the United States, unless it is a small area that has a similar culture to that of South American ones.

Another factor that changes these weddings, and can also be associated with the concept of virginity, is religion. Many South American countries follow some form of religious practices, especially the community in Chronicle of a Death Foretold. The beliefs that the religion holds shape the way that weddings occur and are accepted in the community. It is considered a sin for individuals that are not married to engage in lustful acts, which outlines the concept that the community holds about the purity of women and the importance of abstaining from these acts, which is why they reveal the bedsheet the following day. In the United States, weddings can be held to similar religious standards, but there are still differences when it comes down to specific events at the wedding.

The final factor is culture, which plays a significant role in how these weddings occur. Religion and the concept of virginity are parts of the culture, but other parts of the culture are also incorporated into the wedding. Wedding ceremonies are similar with the bride and groom getting married, but where they occur is unique to the culture, with the wedding in the book taking place at the house. Wedding receptions in the United States are similar to the one that occurs in Chronicle of a Death Foretold, with music playing and food and drinks being served. However, the type of music, food, and drinks vary between the cultures which is where the difference lies.

A meeting place for Mr. Nigro's IB Juniors and other vermin.

Skip to toolbar