Persepolis

Persepolis

Effects of Violence on Marli Although violence is intended to harm someone, there can be positive effects in certain situations. In MarJane Satrapi’s personal memoir, Persepolis, it is shown that Marli is exposed toa large amount of violence in her life, and in turn, it has affected her in many ways. The negative effect on her life include the emotional scarring that entails deaths from violence and also her increased violent tendencies. A positive effect of violence on MarJi’s adolescence is that she becomes more mature and is able to stand up for herself.

MarJi’s exposure to the difficult times around her define ho she is as an individual, how she behaves, and how she matures. As a child is growing up, the people around them affect them greatly, and the violence around Marli and her life is emotionally scarring to her. Her Uncle Anoosh was executed for being a Russian spy, and she cared for him greatly. After she receives the news, she is visited by her image of God, and during this brief appearance she shouts at him, saying, “Shut up, you! Get out of my life!!! I never want to see you again! ” (Satrapi 70).

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This quote is quite strong for MarJi; it is shouted in a iolent manner that is fairly unusual for her. She is very torn up about the situation that is at hand, which in itself is aggressive, and she is trying to cope. Usually this God is a comforting friend, a figment of her imagination that she created to try to understand the world around her. In this case, she feels that it is his fault that her uncle was executed. She tells him to leave because she doesnt trust him, especially since she is in a unstable, mourning condition. In the image Marli is standing on her bed, pointing to guide God to leave her.

God looks sad or disappointed, but almost ike he expected it, and is accepting of his banishment, which could translate to him feeling guilty about the situation. The blackened background gives the impression that the main idea is her and God and also that she is starting to feel lost in her sadness and the enormity of the fact at hand. The way she is standing on the bed gives her power when she is possibly weak, making her seem taller and steadier. Another more graphic case of violence in MarJi’s life was the bombing near her house. Her neighbors’ house was bombed, and it is inferred that they were killed.

After seeing what she believes is a hand, she explains, “No scream in the world could have relieved my suffering and my anger” (Satrapi 142). She was friends with her neighbor and is very difficult to have such a harsh visual in front of her. It was especially traumatizing for Marli because it was so close to her home and she must have thought of the possibility of that being her family. The panel for this phrase is just darkness, which expresses MarJi’s grief and her emotions clouding her thinking. She can’t think of anything other than mute blackness because of the shock she feels.

In both of these situations, someone close to Marli has been brutally killed, whether it be by assassination or bombing. Marli has been through a lot in her life, but deaths like this will stay with her forever and affect the weight of her memories. Prolonged exposure to certain behaviors can lead to slight mirroring of these habits which applies to Marli and her violent tendencies. She is susceptible to the of being fierce, threatening, and occasionally rude. For example, when Marli is very young, she hears that her friend Ramin’s father killed thousands of people, and creates a plan to punish him.

She explains that her “idea was to put nails between our fingers like American brass knuckles and to attack Ramin” (Satrapi 45). Marli clarifies that she got the idea from hearing about American brass knuckles, something that should not be conveyed to young children. She came to the conclusion that Ramin should be punished very easily, only discovering it from word of mouth. According to Ramin, his father only killed evil communists. Based on this information, it can be inferred that Marli acted severely and irrationally, and effect of her exposure to the issues around her.

In the image, Marli and a few of her friends re stomping through the streets, looking for Ramin, who is hiding behind a tree, looking very scared. The expression MarJi’s face and her stance is very similar to the panels that show protests and demonstrations. The tree that Ramin is hiding behind has only a single leaf on its otherwise bare branches, which could show the lack of protection Ramin has. Marli is very strong willed and opinionated and this is shown through her actions, such as when she is influenced by violence and destruction around her.

After she learns that Iraqi bombs were dropped on Tehran, she reacts uickly, exclaiming, “The Iraqis have always been our enemies. They want to invade us… We have to bomb Baghdad! ” (Satrapi 81-2). Marli has been exposed to the bombings around her and she immediately wants to respond in a negative way, by fighting fire with fire. For an adolescent, these are strong topics to be dealing with and her voice on the matter is very aggressive. She is very adamant about the decisions she makes, even if she doesnt know all the information.

Marli has a habit of being determined about a subject to show confidence and it also works to cover he fact that she might not know all the information. In both these images, Marli is angry and she seems to look like she believes that these behaviors are the obvious answers. She is very strong in her posture and she is defying her father in the first image, showing that she believes she is right and needs to show him that. In the second image, she is saying it in a matter of fact tone, and she has her feet on the table, a symbol of rebellion and confidence.

She thinks that she knows they answer and wants to be strong willed about it. Although violence has a negative connotation, it does have the positive effect of ausing Marli to mature and act older than her true age. Ever since she was young, Marli has been fairly independent and opinionated. In her school life, she has talked back to her teachers multiple times. For example, when she wears her bracelet after a warning from the principal, she exclaims, “With all the Jewelry you steal from us, you must be making a pile of money” (Satrapi 143). This response is followed by Marli hitting the principal and being expelled.

This may seem like a bad thing for MarJi, and it is, but it also shows her willingness to stand up for what she believes in. She showed that she is confident and doesn’t want to listen to authority figures with whom she doesn’t agree. She is an independent young women and her ability to stand up for herself will be useful as she grows up. I think MarJi’s expression in this panel is key. She looks angry, surprised, and almost disgusted. She knows what she believes is right and she doesn’t want anyone to tell her otherwise. The principal is which almost Justifies MarJi’s action to hit her.

Afterward, she apologizes to the principal, because of her natural instinct to try to lessen the severity of a situation. I hink she acts irrationally in this instance because she has learned that in dangerous or violent situations, she needs to act in a way that exerts her confidence and dominance. I believe that the formation of these behaviors is due to Marli toughening her personality to deal with the brutality surrounding her. Another example of MarJi’s maturing behavior is the cigarette she smokes. As she tried her first one, she said “With this first cigarette, I kissed my childhood goodbye” (Satrapi 117).

She was using the cigarette as an act of rebellion against her mom’s dictatorship, but this is eflected with the executions of the regime’s oppositions and the violence around her in general. Marli feels the need to rebel because she sees her mother as the dictator of the household and rebelling against her is correlated with rebelling against the revolution. It is well know that cigarettes are incredibly destructive to your health and they represent the violence to which Marli is exposed. She sees this act as her development into a grown-up. Being mature in her society is necessary because otherwise it is difficult to support yourself.

As it turns out, Marli had to move away rom her family so her independence and growth will help her in her new life. In the final panel, where she dismisses her childhood, Marli looks confident and sure of herself and her decisions. The black background shows that this is an intense situation and all the attention should be focused on Marli and her actions. In the panel before, Marli was crying due to the cigarette but also due to the ideas entailed with smoking a cigarette and the loss of her childhood. She stopped crying for the last panel to show that she isn’t afraid and she is ready for what adulthood could try o throw at her.

In conclusion, violence has both negative and positive effects on MarJi. There is expected emotional scarring from the visual violence around her and as an individual, she develops a few violent behaviors. On the other hand, Marli has become more independent and grown-up, almost forcefully, from her exposure to the violence around her. Marli was living in a life surrounded by turmoil and destruction and she had nearly no choice but to endure the difficulties around her and work through them, leading to her growth into a stronger individual.

Jesse
from Nandarnold

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