E. Persepolis as a Graphic Text Dr. Rufel Ramos World Literature II Fall 2010
1. Why Words & Images? • Clarifies an otherwise mysterious and unknown time, place, history, and culture: Iran, • And uses Satrapi’s expertise as a graphic artist. • Words & Images = work together to fill in her story that neither words or images alone could do
2. Satrapi’s Drawing Style • Simple, black & white, and modern -- like in children’s illustrated books and comics. • Contributes to the demystification of her otherwise “exotic” story, making her childhood home and experiences as relevant to her Western readers as possible
3. Black & White World? • The post-1979 Iranian government makes the world seem black & white, but Satrapi’s world has many shades of grey – like any real person’s life. • Drawings easily convey complex experience, using vivid imagery, facial expressions, and ironic placement of positive and negative images.
4. Characters: Inner & Outer World Juxtaposition of the characters’ outer world – harsh, painful, dangerous, classist, sexist, adult – with the characters’ inner world – nurturing, fun, safe, equal, childlike. Example: “the key to paradise” and “a necklace with chains and nails” (102)
5. Best in Pictures – Ten Examples • Split Marjane (6) • “2500 Years of Tyranny and Submission” (11) • Fire victims (15) • Torture (51) • Uncle Anoosh’s death (70) • “Fundamentalist” vs “Modern” (75) • The Keys (102) • The Bracelet (142) • The Vegetable (189) • Disneyland in Tehran (329) And so on and so forth...
6. The Comic Book Version • Satrapi plays with the common expectation that comic books are just for children.
Strengths Clarifies Satrapi’s visuals in her memories Makes non-threatening and familiar otherwise foreign and mysterious people, places, and culture Limitations: Images are only as good as the artist Limits the visualization of the reader to what Satrapi gives 7. Images: Strengths & Limitations
8. Traditional Novels Traditional novels with foreign concepts and hard-to-visual settings may benefit from a graphic format: • Orwell’s Animal Farm • Dickens’ Great Expectations • Hawthorne’s The Scarlett Letter
Conclusion • Major Points: • Both words and images tell Satrapi’s story • Simple style doesn’t mean simple story • Ironic use of images • Comics are for adults, too • Recommendations: • Graphic format not for every novel or memoir, but some could benefit = introduction to new cultures and difficult concepts. • Other graphic novels to check out: • Art Spiegelman’s Maus (about the Jewish Holocaust in WWII) and • Larry Gonick’s The Cartoon History of the Universe.