Study Guide

Reza in Persepolis

By Marjane Satrapi

Reza

Prenuptial Agreement

Marjane and Reza are less James Carville and Mary Matalin and more Paula Abdul and MC Skat Kat. (Okay—that's what we call a '90s reference. Don't get it? Then replace Paula Abdul and MC Skat Kat with Katy Perry and Russell Brand.) Sure, opposites attract, but we get the feeling that it's not going to work out.

Reza is a painter, and Marjane is a painter. And… that's all they have in common. Marjane says "we complemented each other" (32.34), which is true. The problem is they don't compliment each other, with an i. They're not very nice to one another, which is kind of important in a relationship.

Marjane and Reza decide to marry, but the reason seems to be less romantic and more societal. Iran kind of expects people to be married. Marjane doesn't realize that she's caving to societal pressure, but her dad does. He makes sure Reza grants Marjane a "right to divorce" (36.11) and encourages her to exercise this right: "Live together as long as you feel truly happy. Life is too short to be lived badly" (36.13). Wise words.

Marjane's dad knows that Reza isn't right for his daughter. Maybe it's not even Reza who is wrong for Marjane, but marriage in general since she draws a picture of herself behind bars right after the wedding. She feels trapped being married, and maybe she'd feel trapped by any man.

Whatever the reason, Reza and Marjane seem civil in public, but they're just keeping up appearances, like that British sitcom they're always showing on PBS, but a lot more tragic than funny. They eventually divorce; it's for the best for Marjane, but we never learn how Reza takes it or where he is today. How do you think he dealt with it?