The revolution is like a bicycle. When the wheels don't turn, it falls. (2.4)
This is a good quote from a very young Marji, and it's true. We'd like to add that a revolution is like a really long tandem bicycle. It takes a lot of riders to keep it going, and they have to be in sync. If one person stops, the whole thing is going to tip over.
"Marji, run to the basement! We're being bombed!" (9.60)
It would be easy to say that the war begins with the sound of bombs dropping, but there was a slow boil building up to it. The bombs are more like popping the zit of war. Things have been festering under the surface for a long time before they explode.
"The Iranian fundamentalists tried to stir up their Iraqi Shiite allies against Saddam. […] He's always wanted to invade Iran. And here's the pretext. It's the second Arab invasion." (10.50)
Iran seems to be living in a time warp, dealing with invasions every thousand years or so. Why are they perpetually at war? Could it be because of every regime's insistence on cultural ignorance? By ignoring the mistakes of the past, they might be doomed to repeat them.
"Dad […] are you going to war? Are you going to fight? We have to teach those Iraqis a lesson!" (11.11)
Marji gets a little wrapped up in Iranian nationalism, which isn't exactly a bad thing. She also has to grapple with the fact that her father can be a hero without going to war. In fact, fighting wouldn't even be the best place for her father since he's an intellectual. He shows us that there's room for more than just brute force even when a country is at war.
War always takes you by surprise. (11.19)
This is a good quote, but we have to ask, does it really? Haven't they been expecting war the whole time, what with all the political turmoil? Is it just the act of war that takes you by surprise, like the bomb that almost kills your family?
After the border towns, Tehran became the bombers' main target. (14.1)
War often starts out small and escalates. The Iraqi bombers didn't directly affect Marji's family's lives until they changed their focus to Tehran, which is where they live. Although the family hides in the basement, they also start rebelling more at this time. Maybe the closer war hits to home, the stronger your reaction is.
While people were dying in our country, she was talking to me about trivial things. (20.13)
Well, you can take the girl out of Iran but you can't take Iran out of the girl. Marji believes that all Iranians should be concerned about the war in Iran, and gets mad when Shirin, Zozo's daughter, is not. Does she have a point? Should Shirin shut up about gloves and be more politically active? What can she do all the way in Vienna?
"The entire war was just a big setup to destroy both the Iranian and the Iraqi armies. The former was the most powerful in the Middle East in 1980, and the latter represented a real danger to Israel." (29.53)
Here's another reason that Iran will never be at peace: other powers pit them against other countries. Marjane's dad is referring to U.S. and British involvement in these wars in the 1980s and '90s. What are these countries' relationships with Iran like now? We bet that, whenever you read this, they're not good.
"Everything has to be rebuilt now."
"While we wait for the next war which will destroy everything again." (29.44)
Marjane's mother says the second line here, and Marjane calls her mother "disillusioned" (29.47). Is she disillusioned or realistic? Iran has been at war for over 2000 years it seems. She's right that there will be another one eventually. Does that mean they shouldn't rebuild?
In 1994, the year of my marriage, Iraq attacked Kuwait. (37.1)
It's pretty morbid to remember the year of your marriage by thinking about what war happened then, but in Iran, there's always a war happening. So it might be morbid, but it's not unusual for an Iranian to do this. Especially since this war in the Middle East will likely directly impact Marjane's life in Iran.