Losing the Purity


10 February 2011

Losing the Purity

How would you feel If you used to have a wealthy and modern life and then lost everything because of the Islamic revolution? Such an experience would be horendous especialy to children who undergo through such. Children who go through such experiences qare bound to suffer from psychological disorders such as stress and depression. One such scenerio is evidenced inthe book Persepolis. Marjane is the main character in the novel who spent her childhood in iran and got to experience the Iranian cultural revolution and the Iran-Iraq war. This traumatic experience ended up having adverse effects in her life. She developed the vice lying in her childhood, hate religious issues and the desire for war games.

Marjane was naive and benevolent in her early childhood years like other children. She was willing to help people and to see everyone happy. In one instance, Marjane said that ‘‘I wanted to be a prophet because our maid did not eat with us, because my father had a Cadillac and above all, because my grandmothers knees always ached.’’ (6). the childhood desire to become a prophet inspired the choice career that she took which was to become a prophet. Her pursuit to becoming a prophet was however, short lived as she developed hate for religious issues. This was caused by the protests that occurred during the year of the revolution. She said, ‘‘the year of the revolution I had to take action, so I put my prophetic destiny aside for a while. Today my name is Che Guevera.’’ (10) When the protests had ended, she decided to lead a revolution and fight against the King rather than be a prophet and satisfy other people’s desires. The sight of people fighting each other made her loose a little bit of her purity. Her change from pursuing prophecy to being a leader of the revolution is clear evidence of the adverse effects Islamic revolution. The Islamic revolution made her think that the only way to solve her present predicaments through violence.

Prior to the revolution, Marjane enjoyed attending school and playing childhood games in the company of her peers. She did not harbor any grudges against her friends and never entertained violence. He protests however exposed to grave evils. She saw how people harmed each other through fighting. She heard stories of people being tortured by the guards. She developed the thought that the people who were being imprisoned and being tortured by the guards were the heroes who were fighting for the people’s liberation. She said that ‘‘those stories had given me new ideas for games.’’ (53) Marjane and her friends started to play games that depicted the torture techniques that they usually heard of. These techniques entailed twisting the arm, filling the mouth with garbage and pulling on the two sides of the upper lip. She also started to nurture bad feelings towards her friends. On one instance, a friend of hers claimed that Ramin’s father was in the SAMAK and had killed millions of people. On learning the truth behind this claim, Marjane said that ‘‘In the name of the dead people, we’ll teach Ramin a good lesson […]. My idea was to put nails between out fingers like American brass knuckles and to attack him.’’(45). This showed how the violence had adversely affected her until she contemplated torturing her friend after the games were over.

The novel narrates of a childhood crush that Marjane felt for a friend of hers named Kaveh. Kaveh was the same age as Marjane; he also had the same feelings for her. She narrates that she felt butterflies in her stomach whenever she was around her childhood love. Her heart was soon to feel the pain of heartbreak on learning of her love’s departure. One day, Kaveh told her that ‘‘I am going to United States. My parents’ say it is impossible to live under an Islamic regime, it is better to leave.’’ (63) This was because many of the modern families preferred to live in western countries rather than spend their lives under religious pressure. This also made a good part of her family and her friends to leave the country. Marjane said, ‘‘actually I liked him very, very much. It was the end of the world!’’ (63) The Iranian Cultural Revolution caused her to loose a lot of her friends and family leaving her lonely and heart Brocken.

The Islamic revolution forced the people to lie due the religious pressure. The people had to lie about their beliefs and the activities they engaged in because of the fear of being punished. One day Marjane’s mother warned her and said, ‘‘If anyone ever asks you what you do during the day, say you pray, you understand?’’ (75) After listening carefully to her mother’s advice, she said to her friend, ‘‘I pray ten or eleven times and sometimes twelve.’’ (75) She narrates, ‘‘at first, it was a little hard, but I learned to lie quickly.’’ (75) Insincerity is a vice that when practiced continually makes people to lack trustworthiness. The Islamic revolution forced many to lie until lying was a normal affair to the extent that even parents were advising their children to lie. Although the lies that the people made were purely for survival purposes, forcing the children to lie to would lead to moral degradation for the whole nation. The strict Islamic rules led to Marjane and other people like her to loose their trustworthiness.

Marjane had an uncle named Anoosh whom she liked very much. She mostly enjoyed listening to his stories that were mostly of the rebellion against the government and the punishment that followed those who were captured. Anoosh had been a communist and had engaged in the rebellion. This had made him to be tortured on countless occasions due to his political views. These stories were impressive according to Marjane thereby making him her hero. Anoosh on the other hand also liked her very much and enjoyed narrating to her his stories. He spent most of his free time with her because he shared the same house with her. He narrated to her his experiences during the Islamic revolution. One day, he was arrested by the state officials and taken to prison. His arrest was because of his communist view, which against the fundamentalism ideologies purported by the state. The family was later to learn that Anoosh had been executed. The founders of the Islamic revolution often punished and killed those who revolted against the Islamic regime in order to protect the regime. The loss of her hero made Marjane so miserable. This devastated her a lot until she asked god, ‘‘shut up you! Get out of my life! I never want to see you again!’’ (70) This shows of how the Islamic revolution caused persons to hate religion and despise it. The Islamic revolution had had a negative impact on the views that Marjane harbored on religion.

In conclusion, the Iranian Cultural Revolution was bloody and oppressive. It ended up in having a negative impact on the Iranian people in general. The children were not spared as they witnessed the atrocities and heard of the tortures conducted by the Islamists. The Iranian Cultural Revolution ended up affecting Marjane through her personality and character. She no longer harbored the innocent thoughts of a child but thought of war, violence and rebellion to the oppressive regime. She forsook her childhood desire to become a prophet for the pursuit of leadership for the rebellion. We see that the Islamic revolution led the children to leave the innocent childhood games and incorporate torture techniques they had learnt through stories in their games. The sight of violence left an indelible mark in the young generation. We get to see the children harboring thoughts of revenge on innocent individuals because of their parent’s affiliations. The instance where we see Marjane plotting to torture a fellow friend because of the activities of the father shows the moral degradation that the conflict had influenced the children. The story narrates that before the revolution, children engaged in normal innocent childhood games and never harbored violent and other evil thoughts. This shows of the adverse effects that the Islamic revolution had on the people of Iran.



Satrapi, Marjane. Persepolis. London, UK: J. Cape, 2006. Print.











Still stressed from student homework?
Get quality assistance from academic writers!