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Importance of religion in Persepolis

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The revolution brings about sweeping changes in the society and people experience the agonizing transition from a free society to the strict code of conduct under Islamic guidelines. Satrapi, who also belonged to an elite class, experiences the changes and depicts the same through the lens of a child. Persepolis gives a sensitive account of the changing society under stringent and biased Islamic laws that were suddenly implemented when monarchy was thrown out during Islamic revolution. The threatening postures of the revolutionaries reflect how they were viewed by people at large.

Satrapi’s graphic displays of people are unique in their understanding of people’s feelings that reflect their confusion and at the same time, their defiance against the new regime in the subtle ways. In the post monarchy time, religion had emerged as major influencing factor that defined characters and how religion actually affected their interaction with others. The high point of the book is how the people warily conformed to the changing social format under the eyes of threatening revolutionaries. The behind the door utterances as captured in graphics reveal the terror and also the defiance against the new system that restricts their freedom of expression.

Satrapi’s depiction of veiled women with the streaks of hair coming out of the veil subtly exposed their rebelliousness. At the same time, it was also funny because the pictures also presented their lowered heads, a deliberate pose designed to show their meek following the dictums of the rebels. The book indeed innovatively informs the world as to how the Islamic revolution changed the precepts and concepts of social dynamic and changed modern Iran into religious country that was guided by spiritual leaders.

The friendly police that had overnight turned menacing accurately revealed the changes that were difficult to accept, especially for child who was not exposed to the plight of common man. Satrapi shows the rebels as threatening creatures who lurk around the corners and create fears amongst the people. She sums up the scenario as says that ‘our fear paralyzes us… fear has always been the driving force behind all dictators’ repression’ (302). The people were following the religious dictums not from choice but from the fear.

The power display as seen in the streets instigates her to become ‘Prophet’ so that she can help people. This is important aspect as her wish for power is driven from the need to do good and not follow the revolutionaries in their acts of violence.

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