Study Guide

Persepolis Religion

By Marjane Satrapi

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Chapter 1

Deep down I was very religious but as a family we were very modern and avant-garde. (1.19)

Are these two things totally opposite? Can you be modern and religious, or is religion naturally old fashioned? Maybe Jesus should be turning water into Moscato, instead of just plain ol' wine.

Chapter 2

That night [God] didn't come. (2.43)

Why doesn't God come to Marjane the night she decides to be a revolutionary? Is it because he doesn't agree with violence? Or is he just catching up on Breaking Bad?

Chapter 7

The only place I felt safe was in the arms of my friend. (7.45)

This quote is accompanied by an illustration of Marji in the arms of God. Or it could be Karl Marx, because she thinks Marx looks like God. But we're pretty sure it's God. Even though Marji isn't religious in the way that Iran wants her to be religious, she takes solace in her personal faith.

Chapter 10

"If anyone ever asks you what you do during the day, say you pray, you understand?" (10.28)

When religion becomes mandatory, the way it does in Iran, can it even be about faith anymore? Even though Marji has a strong faith in God (admittedly, it's a little shaken at this point), her faith has nothing to do with the amount of prayers she is required to make per day.

"Everything needs to be revised to ensure that our children are not led astray from the true path of Islam." (10.10)

Having religious leaders run Iran turns out to be a very bad idea. Not everyone believes in the same version of fundamentalist Islam that they do. Replace "Islam" with "Christianity" and instead of Iran you've just perfectly described the state of Texas.

Chapter 11

[The Iranian National Anthem] had been forbidden and replaced by the new government's Islamic hymn. (11.28)

It's crazy to think that a hymn could replace a country's national anthem. What's next? Saying "under Allah" when praising the flag of Iran? Oh wait…

Chapter 14

It was a miracle. (14.43)

Marji says this after a soldier sympathizes with her grandmother when Grandma lies and says she has diabetes. He sympathizes with her because his mother has diabetes too. Is this a miracle, as Marji (who is strong in faith) believes, or is it just coincidence?

Chapter 27

Each time that I asked my mother to pray for me, my wish was granted. (27.4)

This passage marks the first time in a while that Marjane has mentioned God. We have to ask: Does she only have faith in God when he's doing something for her? What kind of way is that to treat a friend?

Chapter 31

"That dose should have been enough to finish off an elephant! … Even though I'm not a believer, aside from divine intervention, I can't find any other explanation for your survival." (31.42)

Marjane takes the doctor's words divine intervention as proof that this is, in fact, the reason for her survival. Her BFF God totally saved her life. Whatever the reason, she uses her faith to realize that she wasn't meant to die during her suicide attempt, and she redirects her energies toward strengthening her identity instead of trying to destroy it.

Chapter 32

A few months later, I learned […] that the Mullah who had interviewed me had really appreciated my honesty. Apparently, he'd even said that I was the only one who didn't lie. I was lucky. I had stumbled on a true religious man. (32.62)

There aren't many true religious men in Iran. Most of them use religion as a means to power, but the man in charge of admitting Marjane to college truly believes, and he appreciates Marjane's true belief as well.

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