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The War of Childhood

By chiii3 Nov 17, 2013 484 Words
The War of Childhood
Progression of adolescence is represented in a variety of different ways in Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel, Persepolis. In Satrapi’s chosen medium through which she chose to portray her autobiographical novel, she demonstrates the loss of childhood innocence and the subsequent progression into adulthood. The medium in which Satrapi chooses to tell her story reveals the nature of her childhood. Adolescence is a balance between adult responsibilities and the carefree nature of childhood. The large and limited captions may attest to this “black and white” outlook on life by allowing the reader to interpret the story, just as Satrapi had to while she was living it. This keeps the motif of childhood innocence relevant throughout the novel, and reminds the reader that despite her remarkable maturity, Satrapi is still but a child not unlike the reader herself. The big pictures also lay claim to the childish tendency to notice “the big picture” instead of evaluating details. This tendency however, is justified in a time of war when little is certain and often details are subject to change based on uncontrollable events. An example from the text of Satrapi showing her innocence would be her not fully understanding the importance of God. When she pushes him away it shows that she doesn’t understand his meaning and how to really act. Another would be her wanting to go to demonstrations and not knowing really how they work. When she smokes a cigarette for the first time and says, “With this first cigarette I kiss childhood goodbye”, that’s not how it works. This act proves her more to be still at the adolescence stage. The war is a representation of the conflicting sides of childhood and adult responsibilities through adolescence. Just as Satrapi begins the book rooted in fundamentalist beliefs, she finds herself moving towards modernist views, and succumbs to the calling of the western world. By the conclusion of the novel our protagonists comes to the utter and self- proclaimed conclusion that she will leave for the new, and leave behind the old. In Satrapi’s relationship with her parents, she shows affection while slowly distancing herself from them. In the final act of growing up, she leaves her family and declared her independence from them. This foreshadows Iran’s perceived independence from its fundamentalist beliefs. Satrapi’s intention in writing her autobiographical graphic novel is to inform her readers of life in the Middle East, and by doing so dispute many misconceptions and generalizations that arise in western culture. The many childlike experiences of Iran and Islamic, involving our early exposure to the culture through deeds like terrorism attests to the immature tendencies of adults and even whole cultures. This introduces the idea that perhaps, childhood innocence is something that we do not outgrow. Perhaps even, in war and in growing up, progression is merely something of desire.

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