Sunday, April 8, 2012

Space: influencing character? (Persepolis)

Space is everywhere. I’m not talking about the outer space, where the nebulas, and different planets are (although, that is a space). But space: where one goes to relax, to read, heck even personal space is space. Space doesn’t necessarily means a room with four walls; it could be outside in a park, beach, and mountains. Space does determine who we are, too; or it shapes us, it can mold our characters.

In Persepolis, we see the different spaces that Marjane finds herself in. These spaces transform, and shape Marjane, whether or not she sees it. For Example, in the beginning of the book, when Marjane is explaining her childhood, she was a very imaginative child. She talked to God; she thought that she was going to be a prophet. Even though her parents weren’t so religious, but she read books about religion.  Also, as the Islamic revolution starts, and Marjane starts finding out about heroes she wants to learn more about them and she is more interested in different governments, this is where a seed is planted, where she starts getting more interested in politics which later on shape her more. As she grows older, Marjane gets more politically involved because she knows more and she is more aware of her surroundings, she starts rebelling and questions her teachers to a point where she almost gets expelled. In the book, her parents decide it’s best that they send her to Austria. Here, is also another space where Marjane inherits a different persona. The people she met change her, and she starts smoking weed and even sells it, and starts dating. When she goes back to Iran, she enrolls into an art school with her then husband. Because she wanted freedom, she got married, thinking that she loved him, but the marriage didn’t last. During the “space of marriage” I guess you can say, she wasn’t the same Marjane. Although her husband wasn’t those, “macho” men, Marjane would still just lounge around her parents’ house, and dind’t talk to her parents—to a point that her father had told her that she was just being lazy and wasn’t doing much with her life. All of these influenced her a great deal, it in a way shaped who she was whether it was permanent or temporary, but these spaces influenced her a lot.

       The Gender roles changes in Iran and in the west; in Iran, the women (after the revolution) women where required to hear the veil and the long skirts, barely showing any skin. Whilst in the West, it’s not strict as far as dress code goes.  But it seems that women in Iran were more oppressed, and they didn’t have the chance to do much. A great example is for marriage. Women couldn’t divorce, without the husbands consent. While in the west, well, a woman can get divorced on her own account and doesn’t have to ask for her husbands permission. It exemplifies part of the gender role. Women aren’t allowed to do much in Iran. While in the west, there are different gender roles, but it doesn’t oppress women’s right.


  1. Jocelyn,
    I do agree with you when you say space does determine whom we are, basically shaping us and molding our own character. It is true that with the new people we do become involved with, the more different our space will become. Just how in Iran, after the revolution, women were to wear the veil and long skirts but when Marjane was in the west, she was able to express herself in what she worse. Plus, it is quite interesting how the fact that in Iran women weren’t able to divorce unless they got the husbands permission, so basically women had no rights. It’s fascinating to see how the gender roles differentiate throughout where you go. In Iran women had basically no rights yet in the West women though maybe not as equal as men, had some rights. Persepolis though gives a great view in seeing the different spaces even if we may not notice them so easily.

  2. I agree with you two that space helps shape who we are and the way we live. For Marjane, every place she went had some influence on her identity.For example, when she was back in Iran, her identity was very different from who she was in France. As you mentioned, not only does the space the identity, but also the people in that space help form one's persona. It was quite interesting when you think about it. There is a saying that you can tell a lot about a person through his friends. I think it's true. And about the marriage in Iran, I think it's just unfair. There is a huge gap between the male's role and the female's role in Iran, which still exists nowadays in Iran.