Why Marjane Satrapi Graphic Form

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Why Marjane Satrapi chose to tell her story Persepolis in the graphic form The graphic novel Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi was written in the graphic medium to appeal to a wider audience. Literary critic, Manuela Constantino, proposes that “the combination of a visual representation and a child’s point of view makes the story easily accessible and therefore attracts a wide range of readers.” (Constantino, 2008: 2) Another plausible reason for Satrapi's choice to do the novel in this medium is the apparent popularity graphic novels enjoyed at the point of the memoir’s publication. Writing the novel graphically, brings the Middle Eastern novel closer to its Western readers. As Constantino wrote; Satrapi emphasizes “the universal qualities of her child narrator and the details of her experiences that would be familiar to her Western readers.” (Constantino, 2008: 2) Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi in the graphic form deems effective because it is written in a form that is recognizable to her target readers, written in somewhat a ‘universal’ language. Satrapi chose to tell her story in the graphic form to better connect with her readers. It is apparent that Satrapi’s targeted audience are mainly Western Christians. Over forty percent of the world’s population who practice a religion are Christians. The religious stature of the main characters made the novel accessible to its non Muslim readers. Being able to observe Christians in a predominantly Islamic country, opens a window to a life Satrapi's readers could only dare to imagine. A world where u are told what to believe and what to think. It is therefore logical to target the sensitive majority of the population to educate about the Iranian political struggle and to get her story across. The novel in itself is about driving away the West from the conservative Iranian nation. Driving away the things her targeted readers consider their norm. Westerners and others around the world try to “seek insight into a country and a nation that have been deemed “evil” and an imminent threat to Western society.” (Malek, 2006: 10) To aid the West in its quest to “seek insight” into the nation of Iran, Satrapi wrote the novel in a medium that is very closely related to and very familiar in the Western culture. As demonstrated in: “... They found records and videocassettes at their place, a deck of cards, a chess set. In other words, everything that’s banned.” The scene leads the reader to feel unwanted and driven off alongside Marji, an Iranian who embraces the reader’s culture as demonstrated in page one hundred and twenty six , from her Iranian world. The reader and Marji form a special bond – they become a unit. This common ground builds a stronger connection between Marji and the reader leading the audience to feel a stronger form of empathy towards the child, as they are now part of the cultural issue. Satrapi also chose to relate socio-political issues, conflict and loss to Arabic writing; as demonstrated in page eighty seven, in the panel where in two women are arguing. (Satrapi, 2003) Their banter is written in a language unfamiliar to her targeted readers leading the reader to classify fighting and arguments as foreign and that the very presence of these women and their conflict is alienating. Another instance is when Pardisse reads her letter to her dead father, a letter written in the same foreign writing – grief is then related to this alien language.(Satrapi, 2003: 86) And on page one hundred and thirty two, in the panel where The Guardians of the Revolution (women’s branch) were introduced, one will observe the same unreadable writing resembling Arabic on their vehicle. (Satrapi, 2003) Her use of all these subtle details in the graphic aspect of the novel adds to the effectiveness of the medium in that it forces the reader to lose all sense of familiarity with the antagonistic characters. The visual aspect of this novel aided in Satrapi’s depiction of Marji as someone who embraces...
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