“I didn’t want to look up. I looked at my trembling legs. I couldn’t go forward, like in a nightmare” (Satrapi 140).
I feel like this particular panel on page 140 was important in the development of the story. It really showed how Marji has been trying to take her mind off of the bombings by the Iraqis by going shopping and admiring materialistic items. However, when she heard that a missile exploded in the neighborhood where she lived, she quickly sprinted out of the store, leaving behind the jeans that she had already paid for behind. She realized that having her parents right next to her is the most she could ever ask for, especially during this time when everything she holds dear to her is on the edge of being destroyed. There was a 50/50 chance that her house could’ve been the one bombed and she never would have been able to see her parents again. Her parents also reciprocated that same fear for Marji. What if Marji was killed in the next bombing? This followed by other events led to Marji’s parents making the difficult decision to send Marji to Austria. They realized that it was better to send their daughter far away then to be close by and constantly having the fear of being the next one killed.
I think the most influential panel in this section of Persepolis is on page 148 in the middle row on the left. The panel is a picture of Marjane with her parents right after they tell her they want to send her to Austria. In this panel, her father says, “We love you so much that we want you to go.” This text sums up the experience for a young adult female like Marjane during this time in Iran. Her parents, with love in their hearts and hope in their voices, break the news to Marjane that she would live a better life abroad without them than if she were to stay in the pain-stricken land of Iran. They believed deeply in her French education and felt it was important to send her to a safer refuge in Europe where she could continue that education without fear of being bombed or losing her liberties. Austria could provide chances for Marjane that her parents could not. This realization brings with it a major turning point in the girl’s life as she journeys to Austria to start life anew—without war, without Iran, without her parents.
The most important panel from the past reading assignment is definitely panel #2 on page 151. This panel reads ‘I will always be true to myself’ and is said by Marji. Up until this point in the book, Marji has constantly questioned the system. She doesn’t understand why certain things are happening around her and so. She asks her parents what is happening, calls her teachers out in class about how their teachings are wrong, and goes against many of the unwritten rules of society in order to prove her point. Marji is being sent away to Austria while her entire identity and heart is in Iran. She knows that she must start over but also knows that in times like these, it is incredibly easy to lose a sense of who you are. Marji knows that she must be true to herself and this panel exemplifies this in a very straightforward way. The image in this panel is very basic. It is simply a photo of Marji looking at herself in the mirror. She isn’t smiling but instead giving a stern look, showing that she is serious about maintaining her identity even though she is leaving her home. As we continue reading, her identity will be changing but hopefully we are able to a sense of who she used to be (in Iran) peek through.
I think that the panel on page 172 is the most important from the reading. It is the first time that Marjane truly feels accepted since she left Iran for Austria. Lucia invites Marjane to spend the break with her and her family. They are all intrigued by Marjane, however, it is a different intrigue from Marjane’s school friends. Her friends at school are only interested by the fact that Marjane has experienced war and death. At the same time, Marjane loved Lucia’s family because they were something she had never experienced before. They have many conversations, yet, the war in Iran is never brought up. At the end of the panel, Marjane considers herself a part of Lucia’s family. I believe this is the first time in the novel that Marjane is truly away from the fighting and issues going on in Iran.
I think that the most important panel from this weekends reading is the last panel on page 153 at the end of “The Dowry.”
In this panel, Marji is looking back at her parents at the airport after they have said there goodbyes. The caption from the panel reads, “It would have been better to just go.” I think this panel serves as a major shift in the books plot. From this panel, the reader notices the challenge that Marji’s parents faced by sending their only daughter to Austria, as well as the difficulty Marji faced in accepting her fate that she may never see her parents or Iran again. I believe that the books will now focus much more on the life Marji will live, and less so on the problems the Iranian people will face.
I think that the most important panel in this selection of the reading is: “I couldn’t bear looking at them there behind the glass. Nothing’s worse than saying goodbye. It’s a little like dying”. This panel exposes the theme of the separation between the main character and her parents, which is the main theme being explored in these few chapters. Satrapi has realized that this situation is not temporary, that she will probably never live with her parents again. This few lines also set the mood for the upcoming chapters and represent a growth in the character of the protagonist.
The most important panel from the section of Persepolis that was due today, in my opinion, is found at the bottom of page 153. This image depicts how difficult it was for Marjane’s parents to decide to let their 14 year old daughter go live in Austria, even though they understood it was safer and allowed for more freedom of expression. Marjane turns around one final time to watch her parents leave, as she recognizes that she will most likely never live with them again, while the reader is left looking at her parents’ empty, somber faces. In the background, I notice Marjane through a glass panel, saddened and helpless. This represents how great of a sacrifice this tight-knit family was willing to make for sake of their child. It helps me, as an audience member, empathize with the struggle that families such as Marjane’s in the Middle East had to make during this war-torn era.
“It would have been better to just go.”
Marjane is now at a point in her life where she is out of choices. With her scathing tongue and Islamic fundamentalism sweeping war-torn Iran, the Satrapi family makes a decision to get Marjane safely away from Iran and place her temporarily in Vienna, Austria with a family friend. Her parents seemed positive throughout her move, but Marjane had a creeping suspicion that this would be the last time she lived with her parents, even through endless reassurances that they would see her in six months time. In this turning point of the book, her parents tear up as she boards for Vienna, but seem strong and supportive with the decision they’ve made. One look back and Marjane’s mother has fainted, limp in the arms of her father and carried away like a child. This moment of weakness by her parents– who had seemed to be fearless protectors all her life– has shocked Marjane, leaving her with a terrible last image of her parents. This seems like the most climatic part of the book in the chapters we’ve read, acting as Marjane’s final exit from childhood and into a very adult adolescence.