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Freedom in Persepolis Cheat Sheet by

A cheat sheet about the theme of freedom in Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi.

Freedom of Speech & Expression

People who had opinions or affili­­ations that differed to the regime's expect­­ations would risk being impris­oned, tortured and even executed.
Protestors against the Shah would be met with force from the military, and protests could turn out bloody, like on Black Friday.
Marjane's grandf­ather was a communist and he was often in prison for his views.
Even after the Shah fled and the political prisoners were released, they could still be re-cap­tured if there was any suspicions regarding them. Mohsen was drowned in his bathtub, and her uncle Anoosh was eventually executed for being a Russian spy.
Later on, Marjane's colleagues who drew cartoons deemed offensive were caught and beaten
At one point, Marjane realizes that freedom was precious and that we only appreciate it when it has been taken away from us.

Persepolis , pg. 18


Freedom of Religion

After the Islamic Revolu­tion, Iran was made into an ultra-­con­ser­vative Muslim country.
Marjane is instructed by her mother to say that she prays every day, in order to not increase suspicion.
Children were separated based on gender in schools, and any co-ed schools were shut down.
The curriculum was infused with Islamic values, and students even had to pass an ideology test in order to gain admission to univer­sities,
Intera­ction with the opposite gender was limited to the bare necess­ities.
The veil for women was made mandatory whenever they went outside.
Wester­n-i­nfl­uenced goods such as cassette tapes, denim and makeup were forbidden.
Alcohol was strictly prohibited and parties were not allowed.
Breaking these rules would mean getting reprim­anded by the Guardians of the Revolu­tion, paying a fine, or being whipped.

Persepolis , pg. 4


Marjane's Rebellion

Marjane has committed various acts of rebellion throughout the story.
She comes from a family of Marxists, and her parents are politi­cally active.
One of her earliest successful acts of rebellion is when she goes to a demons­tration with her maid, on the day that turned out to be 'Black Friday'.
She 'ends her childhood' by smoking a cigarette that she stole - another symbolic act of rebellion.
She goes out to buy cassette tapes while wearing jeans, Nike shoes and a badge with MJ on it, which are forbidden items from the West. She is caught but she is released. When she gets home, she blasts music in her room and dances.
In Austria, she grapples with her new enviro­nment and alters her image. She is influenced by punk subculture and is friends with intere­sting person­ali­ties. She drinks and smokes a lot, and even does drugs.
In the ideolo­gical test back in Iran, she doesn't lie to the mullah and speaks her mind, even though it could have prevented her for passing and entering a univer­sity. She passed in the end as the Mullah apprec­iated her honesty.
When she attends a religious lecture, she questions the disparity between the male and female dress code - a feat that gets her summoned by the Islamic comission. Luckily for her, it was the same man that had questioned her during the ideolo­gical tests so she gets let off and she even designs a new female uniform.
She bonds with a group of like-m­inded students and they draw sketches of each other in their homes as they are not permitted to look at proper models. This group holds parties every night even though they are caught by the Guardians of the Revolution on several occasions.
She doesn't wear her veil properly most of the time, and even wears makeup.
Marjane is a rebellious person and she is someone who treasures her freedom.


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