Study Guide

Persepolis Freedom and Confinement

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Freedom and Confinement

Chapter 1

We didn't really like to wear the veil, especially since we didn't understand why we had to. (1.5)

The reason why women have to wear restrictive clothing is pretty much "because we said so." It's simply a way to limit freedom… and limit the ability to express yourself through your hairstyle. No fauxhawks or feathered bobs for the Iranian girls.

Chapter 2

"[The police] forbade people to rescue those locked inside." (2.24)

This is a double dose of oppression here. Not only are the police locking people inside a theater to burn, they're forbidding others to rescue them. It's a brutal act that no one should have to witness. Not as bad as sitting through The Canyons, but still pretty bad. (We kid, of course. As Marjane says, you have to laugh your way through trauma.)

Chapter 3

"Sometimes they put [Grandpa] in a cell filled with water for hours." (3.41)

Yikes. The regime doesn't just want to confine people; it wants to torture them. Being in a cell filled with water isn't like getting to spend the day in a swimming pool… it's like sitting in a bathtub until your whole body is so pruny, your skin almost falls off. Ick.

Chapter 6

"Children, tear out all the photos of the Shah from your books." (6.18)

The education system in Iran seems to work like this: you should believe what we tell you now, and not think about it, especially when what we're telling you now is the exact opposite of what we told you last week. It's almost like Marji is living in a real life 1984 or The Handmaid's Tale.

Chapter 7

The political prisoners were liberated a few days later. There were 3000 of them. (7.1)

Ah, freedom—how glorious it must be to breathe fresh air after being imprisoned for years. The problem is that they're being released into Iran, which is almost a public kind of prison. The former prisoners still have to watch what they say and how they act, or else they might go back to jail again. There is no get out of jail free card in Iran.

Chapter 8

"I was 18 years old when my Uncle Fereydoon and his friends proclaimed the independence of the Iranian province of Azerbaijan." (8.9)

Freedom always comes at a price. Uncle Fereydoon is killed and, although it takes many years, Uncle Anoosh, who tells Marji this story, is also killed after being branded a traitor to Iran. They don't really care for freedom there, in case you haven't realized that yet.

Chapter 20

As for Houshang, Zozo's husband, he was a CEO in Iran, but in Austria, he was nothing. (20.18)

It's hard for someone to succeed after they flee the country. Zozo's family sacrifices quality of life for their freedom in Vienna. They don't seem happy though. Do you think it's worth it?

Chapter 25
Marjane's Mother

"How good it feels to walk without a veil on my head." (25.36)

We wonder when the last time was that Marjane's mother got to walk around in public without a veil. It's freeing to be able to do this on the streets of Vienna. Can you imagine being required to wear something when you go out, especially something you don't want to wear? What if we all had to wear Bieber shirts every time we left the house? What if he had to wear a shirt, any shirt? There would be riots in the street either way.

Chapter 30

A part of me understood [my old friends]. When something is forbidden, it takes on a disproportionate importance. (30.12)

Marjane has picked up on something that happens to people who, for example, have super-strict parents or live in a rural town. The attraction of the forbidden: whether it be fame, drugs, or sex, is strong. Iran is like living in a rural town full of super-strict parents. As soon as they are moderately liberated, Marjane's friends want the whole Hollywood lifestyle.

Chapter 32

Since we weren't married, we couldn't kiss each other in public, or even give one another a friendly hug to express our extreme joy. We risked imprisonment and being whipped. (32.46)

Reza and Marjane have a hard time saying saying nice things to each other. Maybe this is because they can't be nice to each other in public, for fear of imprisonment. Their secret affection eventually took its toll on the relationship.

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