Prior to the interactive oral presentations, I was unaware of how much of an effect the cultural and political conflicts in 20th century Iran had on Marjane Satrapi’s memoir, The Complete Persepolis. I also had many misconceptions about the Muslim religion and the country as a whole. Through the presentations, however, I was able to identify the numerous flaws in my thinking, as well as the political climate in Iran and its crucial role in the narrative.Some of the misconceptions I had revolved around Islamic beliefs and practices. It was through these presentations that my knowledge of the many rules and restrictions that regulate almost every aspect of daily life in Iran was considerably developed. Being aware of these rules—like the ban on premarital sex, the segregation of genders, and the enforcement of the veil—and their harsh consequences changed how I perceived Marjane and her family. Living in such a progressive and free society today, it is difficult to perceive Marjane’s parents as being particularly permissive towards their daughter. However, after learning that the punishment for disobeying Islamic laws could range anywhere from brutal torture to execution, I now acknowledge the boldness and courage of her parents. In future readings, I will note any additional misconceptions and the effect they might have on how I perceive the characters and events in the novel.Satrapi constantly referenced the Iranian Revolution in her memoir. I often found myself unable to grasp the topic, with the innumerable names, dates, and events that were illustrated. The presentations, however, allowed me to gain a much deeper understanding of Iran’s history. My biggest takeaway was about the rulers during and after the Pahlavi Dynasty. In 1979, after the rule of Reza Shah and his son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi (who maintained pro-Western foreign policy and economic development in Iran), Ruhollah Khomeini came to power. He was appointed Iran’s political and religious leader for life and introduced Islamic law across the country. These three men played significant roles in the Iranian Revolution, affecting the lives of the Iranian people to this day. This information helped me decode the long and complex nature of Iran’s history, and I look forward to learning more as I continue to read The Complete Persepolis.


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