Saturday, August 1, 2015

Persepolis Graphic Novel - Cultural Context (C.H.)

Persepolis gives us an insight into Iranian culture, traditions and beliefs. Marji begins the memoir with a controversial theme in their culture the veil, an issue that she didn’t quite understood why she had to wear it “We didn’t really like to wear the veil, especially since we didn’t understand why we had to”[pg3] but as far as Marji understands is that thanks to the 1979 Islamic Revolution it became obligatory.

In subsequent chapters it is explained “Women’s hair emanates rays that excite men. That is why women should cover their hair!”pg74. While the women had to wear the veil men were forbidden to wear neckties, and short-sleeved shirts were forbidden as the bare men’s arm could get women excited.

When Marji was young she aspired to be a prophet “I was born with religion”pg6, before the Islamic revolution she truly believed that she was the next prophet Marji had its holy back just as her predecessors did and was aware of the first three rules “Behave well, Speak well, Act well” her passion for religion wanted her family to celebrate Zarathustrian holidays like the “Fire Ceremony”, the Fire ceremony consists of setting up a table with religious symbols and food performed under the full moon lasting for 7 days.

Marji experiences first hand a common tradition of self-flagellation during school where they are forced on funeral marches to mourn the war dead, the martyrs “They put on funeral marches, and we had to beat our breasts”. Self-flagellation is a common practice in Iranian culture most commonly observed during the Ashura ceremony where they need to shed blood as a sign of readiness to shed blood for their leader [5C] in this case as an honour to those who have shed blood for the country. Hence the slogan "To die a martyr is to inject blood into the veins of society".

As Marji referred to it Sexual Revolution was something that was hard for her to deal with, she was shocked that Julie was going out with a man much older than her, but that was not all Julie even bragged about how many guys she had slept with at least eight different people; Marie was completely shocked about it and made a comparison to her own culture “I was shocked. In my country, even when you had sex before marriage, You hid it” [pg28].