Persepolis is a novel written by Marjane Satrapi detailing striking aspects of her life in Iran during the Islamic revolution. It is a novel that follows Marji life from childhood to the adulthood while she lived in sorrowful life to the time she went to France. It narrates the concerns that a girl child had to undergo in a tightly religious state where they were supposed to veil. In one analytical point of view, the novel seems to be a life history that is laced with political, religious and social discourse in Iran. On the other hand, it can be classified as a memoir that details the life of the protagonist. However, dissecting the storyline and pattern of the authorship, the book is arranged in a pattern that is in accordance with the age of the protagonist- Marji- that is from childhood to adulthood. To that effect, it can be argued that Persepolis is a book that has used multiple genres to synthesize a story about real characters, real events and the effect of social discourse in a country-Iran.
On one point of view, Satrapi wording pattern and choice of words makes the book to be classified in the genre of memoir. It is a book that talks about her life history and the tribulation she has undergone while in Iran using the character Marji (Satrapi, 2007). Iran is historically known to have had Islamic revolution that impacted hard on the civilian. A book that details historical events basing on the knowledge or experience the author had is described by Gale and Cengage (2016) as being a memoir. To that effect, it can be said that Persepolis fit to be described partially as a memoir. It is an account that describes the suffering that she underwent which by extension can be extrapolated to the other civilian in Iran during the author’s time. To that effect, Persepolis can be termed as a memoir.
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More so, other than Persepolis having the characteristics of a memoir, it can also be categorized under the genre of Bildungsroman. This is because of its order that chronicles the life of Marji from childhood to adulthood. The book can be divided in terms of the age of the protagonist- Marji. According to the operational definition of a literal paper done by Gale and Cengage (2016), Bildungsroman is a term that is described as a genre that devotes its authorship in developing the protagonist from childhood to adulthood by examining the psychosocial development (p.3). It is documented that the psychosocial development of a given person is determined by the childhood experience. In this book, the protagonist experienced worst and traumatizing events as result of the Islamic revolution. He was forced into exile in France but letter repatriated in the country. However, it is worth to note the later life of the protagonist (Satrapi, 2007). She was married but divorced probably because of childhood upbringing that was associated with gender segregation because of religious reasons. Chronicling the life of the protagonist by examining the interpersonal and intrapersonal conflicts that may be as results of childhood experience qualify to categorize this book in the genre of as Bildungsroman.
Other than being a memoir and Bildungsroman, this book can be categorized as a historical book. Historical books tell about the real events in a given place. In Persepolis, it can be seen that the author is narrating about Islamic revolution, its cause and the effect it hard on people. However, some of the effects that the revolution caused are not explicit since they are interwoven in the protagonist. The events took place in Iran and the name Persepolis is real and geographical. Gale and Cengage (2016) defines a historical book as a source that gives a real account of an event that took place in a given time (p. 49). Such an account that does not use fiction to reflect on the societal issues qualifies to be classified as a historical book written using firsthand experience. Basing on the realistic approach that the author has used, Persepolis can conveniently fit in historical books about the Islamic revolutions in Iran.
In summation, it can be seen that Persepolis is a book that the author has multiple approaches to pass the message. The message that the book is not only informational but also educative. This multipronged purpose it serves is because of the many genres that the author has used to write Persepolis. One of the genre that has been used is memoir which narrates the personal account of the author basing on the knowledge and experience that he had. As a memoir, the Persepolis serve more as an informational book. This makes people understand more about the author, the Islamic revolution and the problem that people endured during those hard time. The other genre that has been jointly used is Bildungsroman. This genre follows the life of the protagonist and examines the psychosocial development. With this aspect of Persepolis, it serves as an educational book. The readers can appreciate the effect of childhood life and experience in their adult life. It can be seen that in childhood life of Marji ended up affecting her social life and matrimonial relationship that ended up in divorce.
- Gale, Cengage. Literary Movements for Students: A Study Guide for “bildungsroman,” Excerpted from Gale’s Acclaimed Literary Movements for Students. This Concise. DETROIT: GALE, CENGAGE LEARNING, 2016. Print.
- Satrapi, Marjane. The Complete Persepolis. , 2007. Print.