Study Guide

Persepolis

Persepolis Summary

It's 1980 in Iran, and Marjane Satrapi isn't rocking out to Michael Jackson or watching Dallas; she's being forced to wear a veil at her school, which is now segregated. The boys and girls are separated.

This marks the beginning of years of political and religious turmoil in Iran. Marjane's mother and father often attend political protests, kind of like a more violent Occupy Wall Street, and support revolutionaries when they can, including many of Marjane's relatives, like Uncle Anoosh. Uncle Anoosh had fled to the U.S.S.R., because the Iranian regime believed him to be a spy. Uncle Anoosh teaches Marjane much about the world. He also gives her a swan carved out of bread, which is a lot nicer than a swan made from origami paper (because you can probably eat it). Marji grows very close to Uncle Anoosh, and she takes it very hard when he is executed.

Because of her mother, father, Grandma, and uncle, Marjane's passions lie in social activism. At a young age, she wants to fix social inequalities and make the world into a place where old people don't have to suffer. That's kind of hard to do when there are bombs falling on Tehran and killing Marjane's friends and family members.

Eventually, Marjane's parents decide that Iran is not the place for the daughter they've raised. Marjane is a girl who is headstrong, independent, and outspoken. Her behavior gets her expelled from school, and mom and pop are afraid that a worse punishment will befall her as the regime gets stricter. They ship Marjane to Vienna, where she ends up in a boarding house run by nuns.

It's no Viennese Sister Act, though. Marjane gets along with the nuns about as well as she gets along with authority in Iran. Over the next few years, she finds herself in a variety of living situations: with her sexually liberated friend Julie, in an apartment with eight homosexuals (no, she's not on Vienna's version of Project Runway), and renting a room from a horse-faced woman with a foul attitude and an incontinent dog… just to name a few.

Marjane misses her family, who she left back in Iran and are her only support system. She gets depressed, and becomes homeless. Living on the streets makes her so sick she coughs up blood. She survives, and moves back home to Iran.

Giving up her freedoms is hard, but living with her family is what she needs. Her mom and dad treat her as an equal, and her grandmother gives her the reality check she needs: Marjane has to always be true to herself in order to be happy.

Back in Iran, she continues doing what social activism she can (like designing a new uniform with a shorter veil), gets married, parties, and then gets divorced. All these things are steps on her way to finding her identity.

After a couple of years, Marjane realizes (again) that Iran is not for her, and she moves back to Europe, letting us know that she only got to see her beloved Grandma once more before she died. Freedom has a price...

  • Chapter 1

    The Veil

    • We're introduced to young Marji, age ten. The year is 1980. She's not wearing acid-washed jeans and rocking out to Michael Jackson, though: she's in school, wearing a veil, just like all the other girls.
    • They don't want to wear it.
    • In 1980, the new regime in Iran made it mandatory for women to wear the veil. They also segregated the schools between male and female.
    • Marji tells us that she wanted to be a prophet when she was a girl. "I was born with religion" (1.20), she says.
    • The school thinks it's weird that prophesizing is Marji's career choice, so they call her parents.
    • Even though she tells her parents she wants to be a doctor, she still really wants to be a prophet.
  • Chapter 2

    The Bicycle

    • After a brief Iran history lesson (here's how it's summed up: "2500 years of tyranny and submission" (2.7)) we learn that the regime burned down a movie theater with a bunch of people in it.
    • Marji wants to participate in the protest that's being organized against the police. "For a revolution to succeed, the entire population must support it" (2.39).
    • But her parents won't let her come.
    • That night, she tries to talk to God, but he doesn't respond.
  • Chapter 3

    The Water Cell

    • Marji's parents go to protest demonstrations against the king every day.
    • Young Marji has trouble rationalizing this because her schoolbook says that God chose the king. Who is the king of Iran? George W. Bush?
    • Her dad tells her how it the king actually came to power: the British put him there to try and take control of Iran's oil.
    • Also, the ruler that was deposed was Marji's grandfather, who was a prince. (Not the little one.)
    • Her grandpa briefly served as prime minister, but he opposed the new regime and was sent to prison.
    • Prison was painful, to say the least. One night, he was in a water-filled cell for hours.
    • That night, Marji stays in the bath a long time to try and understand what her grandfather went through. She probably didn't even use any Mr. Bubble that night.
  • Chapter 4

    Persepolis

    • Grandma comes to visit.
    • She tells Marji that when her husband was arrested, they lost all their wealth. She still took every effort to make sure her family looked nice despite being in poverty.
    • That night, the family waits a long time for Marji's father to come home from a protest. Marji fears he is dead.
    • He makes it home alive and uninjured. He tells the story of what happened at the demonstration, but Marji is too young to understand.
    • She decides to educate herself to better understand, and she starts reading lots of books. Too bad there was no Shmoop in Iran in 1980.
    • Wait, why is this chapter called Persepolis? (Check out our "What's Up With the Title?" section if you're curious.)
  • Chapter 5

    The Letter

    • Marji reads and reads and reads and realizes that the biggest problem with the world is the divide between social classes.
    • She recognizes the divide firsthand when her maid, Mehri, falls in love with the boy next door, but is forbidden to pursue him because she is a much lower class than he.
    • He wears a Bee Gees shirt, so maybe this is for the best?
    • Later, Marji gets Mehri to take her to a demonstration.
    • Afterward, Marji's mother is angry. They had demonstrated on "Black Friday"—not the hellish shopping day, but a day when many Iranians were killed by their own country's soldiers.
  • Chapter 6

    The Party

    • Time for another regime change in Iran. It feels like they change regimes as much as American Idol changes judges.
    • People are excited, but Marji's parents know better than to expect any peace.
    • Marji bullies a kid in school because his father was in the Shah's secret police and killed people.
    • Her mom sets her straight: "His father did it. But it's not Ramin's fault" (6.34).
    • After this, Marji realizes that she has to learn to forgive.
  • Chapter 7

    The Heroes

    • The political prisoners are liberated, and two of the freed prisoners are friends of the family.
    • They invite Mohsen and Siamak over, and Mohsen tells them about the painful torture he endured.
    • At first, Marji takes the horrific torture methods and turns it into a game to play with her friends. Whatever happened to good ol' hide and seek?
    • But later that night, she feels overwhelmed and tries to find comfort with her mom and with God.
  • Chapter 8

    Moscow

    • Marji is sad that her dad never went to prison. "My father was not a hero" (8.1), she says.
    • Luckily for her though, her Uncle Anoosh was.
    • His story is pretty scary: He was loyal to his uncle Fereydoon, who proclaimed the independence of Azerbaijan; naturally, the Shah was not happy.
    • Anoosh has a dream: "dead people, blood" (8.13). Um, at least he wasn't in his underwear in front of all the dead people, right?
    • The next morning, his uncle is assassinated, and Anoosh flees.
    • He gains asylum in the U.S.S.R, and even marries. He hates his wife, though he never says why.
    • When he returns to Iran, he is captured and imprisoned for nine years. Marji thinks that is awesome.
  • Chapter 9

    The Sheep

    • While Uncle Anoosh stays with the family, Marji listens to all the political discussion and tries to follow along. It's a little like watching foreign television without the subtitles: she can get the gist of things, but not the specifics.
    • As the Islamic Revolution takes power, people flee Iran in droves, including Marji's friends and many of her family members.
    • Her family stays, even though all the former revolutionaries who were freed, including Uncle Anoosh, are enemies of the government again.
    • One day, Marji comes home from school to find Anoosh gone. Her parents tell her that Anoosh had to leave in a hurry.
    • Then Marji's dad comes clean: Anoosh was arrested.
    • He's allowed to talk to one person in prison, and he wants to talk to Marji.
    • He tells her, "You are the little girl I always wanted to have" (9.52), and he gives her a swan he made to match one he gave her earlier. He then calls her the "star of [his] life" (9.55). It's a really sweet exchange, which is good, because it's the last time she sees him.
    • He is later executed.
    • She tells God, "get out of my life" (9.59). She's so lost, she feels like she's lost in space.
  • Chapter 10

    The Trip

    • Iran starts shutting down faster than the mall on Christmas Eve. They shut down the U.S. embassy and the universities.
    • Soon, all women are forced to wear the veil.
    • Marji's mother tells Marji that if she's ever asked what she does during the day, she should say she prays.
    • One day, she accompanies her parents to a demonstration, where she sees someone stabbed in the leg.
    • That's the last demonstration they go to.
    • They take a vacation to Spain. It's nice, but when they return, Grandma tells them that a new war is starting, this time with Saddam Hussein.
  • Chapter 11

    The F-14s

    • Marji is at her dad's office when Iraqi fighter jets bomb Tehran.
    • At school, Marji learns that a friend's dad is a fighter pilot for Iran. He dies in battle.
    • Marji tells her friend that her father is a hero, and she should be proud.
    • The friend responds: "I wish he were alive and in jail rather than dead and a hero" (11.53).
  • Chapter 12

    The Jewels

    • War in Iran is like a chance of snow in Boston: everyone clears out the supermarket shelves. Gotta stock up on Wonder Bread.
    • People fight over food like they're fighting over toys on the day after Thanksgiving. (A different Black Friday than the people in Iran are used to.)
    • Marji's mother's friend's house is destroyed in a bombing, so she and her family come to stay with Marji's family.
    • They go out shopping one day, and they overhear two women talking about "the refugees," which Mali (Marji's mom's friend) and her family are. These women say, "Southern women are all whores" (12.43). Marji and her family are humiliated and ashamed to be "spat upon by [their] own kind" (12.44).
  • Chapter 13

    The Key

    • At school, mourning the war dead becomes part of the daily routine; to do so, they listen to a song and pound their chests.
    • Marji decides to make fun of the routine of the students flagellating themselves to honor the dead. She cracks her friends up.
    • She and her friends become quite the pranksters, even garlanding the room with toilet paper, which gets them suspended for a week.
    • Their parents get called in to school, and end up pretty much yelling at the principal. They're not happy with the state of education in Iran either.
    • Later, their maid (Ms. Nasrine, a different maid than Mehri) is upset because the school gave her son a plastic key painted gold.
    • They told him it would be his key to heaven if he died in battle. It's propaganda used by the government to recruit child soldiers.
    • Meanwhile, Marji really gets into punk rock. Guess you have to get your mind off of war somehow.
  • Chapter 14

    The Wine

    • As bombs continue falling, Marji's family starts going to secret parties.
    • On the way home, they get stopped by the patrol, who follow them home to sweep their apartment for contraband.
    • When they get to the building, Grandma says she has diabetes and needs to get upstairs immediately.
    • She and Marji race upstairs and they dump all the wine down the toilet.
    • It turns out to be an unnecessary precaution: downstairs, Marji's dad bribes them to go away. He needs a drink. Too bad it all got flushed…
  • Chapter 15

    The Cigarette

    • Marji makes some fourteen-year-old friends who like to sneak out and ogle boys.
    • One day, after cutting class, Marji is busted by her mom. They get into a huge fight.
    • Marji sneaks into the basement, thinks about the martyrs, and secretly smokes her first cigarette. She feels like a grown-up.
  • Chapter 16

    The Passport

    • Uncle Taher has a heart attack, and the family rushes to the hospital.
    • He needs open heart surgery, but in order to get that, he needs a passport to get to England. Getting a passport in Iran is harder than getting to the front of the line at the It's a Small World ride at Disney World.
    • Marji's dad has connections, however, and knows a man named Khosro, who makes fake passports.
    • Unfortunately, a refugee girl, Niloufar, that Khosro is keeping, gets caught and executed, prompting Khosro to flee to Sweden. He never makes the passport.
    • Uncle Taher dies, is buried, and his real passport arrives the same day.
  • Chapter 17

    Kim Wilde

    • A year later, the borders are reopened and Marji's parents get their passports.
    • They go to Turkey. Marji doesn't want to go, but she gives them a list of things she wants them to bring back.
    • They get everything on her list, including the rock music posters, but they don't know how to get the posters past customs.
    • Then mom has a great idea: sew them into the lining of dad's coat.
    • He looks like he's rocking some serious shoulder pads, but that's the style, so they pass through without issue.
    • Later, Marji heads out on her own to buy some rock music tapes from a guy in a trench coat on the street.
    • On the way back, an adult stops her and shames her for the clothes she's wearing. The adult threatens to take her to the committee, "the HQ of the guardians of the revolution" (17.53).
    • Marji lies, saying that her stepmother will burn her with an iron if she gets in trouble, and the woman lets her go.
    • Marji goes home and rocks out to get her mind off things.
  • Chapter 18

    The Shabbat

    • One day, Marji is out shopping with her friend when she hears that her neighborhood has been bombed.
    • She grabs a taxi and races home. It's not just her neighborhood that's been hit: it's her street.
    • Freaking out, she finds her mom. Their house is safe, but the next door neighbor's house was obliterated.
    • Mom tries to tell Marji that the neighbors are okay, but Marji spots her neighbor Neda's bracelet… and it's still attached to a part of Neda that is no longer attached to the rest of her.
    • Marji practically blacks out from the trauma.
  • Chapter 19

    The Dowry

    • After Neda's death, Marji becomes even more rebellious.
    • She hits the principal and gets expelled; and then she gets into trouble at her new school.
    • Afraid for their daughter's safety, her parents decide to send her to stay with her mom's friend in Vienna.
    • Marji gives away a bunch of her stuff to her friends and says goodbye.
    • Her parents take her to the airport. When Marji turns around to watch them leave, she sees that her mother has fainted, and that her dad is carrying her from the airport.
    • All Marji can do is watch them go from behind the glass.
  • Chapter 20

    The Soup [Note: This is the beginning of Persepolis 2]

    • It's November 1984 and Marjane is in Austria in a boarding house with nuns. Wait, what? Wasn't she staying with Zozo, a friend of her mom's?
    • Quick flashback: She was, but Zozo fought with her husband a lot and ended up kicking Marjane out.
    • She kind of likes her independence at the boarding house, though, and she tries to make friends with her roommate, Lucia, even though they don't speak the same language.
  • Chapter 21

    Tyrol

    • Marjane wakes up every morning to the sound of Lucia's hairdryer. The dulcet tones of Steve Innskeep, it ain't.
    • At school, Marjane is teased for her less-than-expert French: one of the kids tells her the word for "dick" instead of "ruler," prompting her to ask a boy "can you lend me your dick?" (21.17), much to the delight of her peers.
    • She does make friends, though: Momo, Julie, Thierry, and Oliver.
    • Soon it's Christmas break and everyone goes home for the holidays… except Marjane. They don't celebrate Christmas in Iran.
    • Lucia invites Marjane to the Tyrol, in the southwest of Austria, to spend time with her family.
    • Marjane really likes it there, except for the midnight Mass that lasts until 3 a.m.
    • After the trip, Marjane feels, "I had a new set of parents [and] Lucia was my sister" (21.51-21.52).
  • Chapter 22

    Pasta

    • Marjane starts reading again to bone up on her friends' interests: Bakunin and Marx.
    • She even tries to pee standing up as recommended by Simone de Beauvoir, but she makes a mess. Maybe she should put Cheerios in the toilet to improve her aim…
    • One night, she makes a pot of pasta and watches TV in the common room with the nuns.
    • A nun yells at her for eating out of a pot. The nun has the audacity to say, "[Iranians] have no education" (22.32).
    • Marjane responds, "You were all prostitutes before becoming nuns" (22.33)…
    • And that's how Marjane gets expelled from yet another school.
    • She's lucky enough to get to move in with Julie, but she never sees Lucia again.
  • Chapter 23

    The Pill

    • Marjane enjoys the time she spends with Julie and her mother.
    • When Julie's mother goes away, Julie throws a party. The parties in Vienna are different to Marjane: "In Iran, at parties, everyone would dance and eat. In Vienna, people preferred to lie around and smoke" (23.42). And by lie around she means in the Biblical sense (translation: naked).
    • That night holds a few firsts for Marjane: her first time seeing a half-naked man, realizing that Julie is having sex before marriage, and her first contact high.
  • Chapter 24

    The Vegetable

    • It's puberty time, but Marjane blows through her awkward teen growth spurt and adopts a new punk-rock hairstyle.
    • She's still trying to find herself, though. Her friends smoke a lot of hash, but Marjane only pretends to.
    • She feels like she's betraying her parents, who sent her away to give her the freedom to be herself.
    • When she tells someone she's French, she feels extra guilty for betraying her Iranian heritage.
    • It all comes to a head when she overhears people talking about how weird and ugly she is. They see through her lies.
    • She stands up and yells at them, "I AM IRANIAN AND PROUD OF IT" (24.47). You go, girl.
    • Embarrassed, she cries at first, but then she feels good because she just stood up for herself. "If I wasn't comfortable with myself, I would never be comfortable" (24.52), she says, which is a really good point.
  • Chapter 25

    The Horse

    • Marjane moves into a communal apartment with eight homosexuals.
    • She has abandoned her punk look, too.
    • One day, she is overjoyed to discover that her mother is coming to visit.
    • When she picks Mom up at the airport, Mom doesn't recognize her because Marjane has grown so much.
    • They do a lot of quality bonding.
    • Mom is still there when Marjane's lease at the communal apartment is up, so she helps Marjane find a new place, this time a room in the house of one Frau Doctor Heller. We're not sure if this is an upgrade from staying at Frau Blucher's castle or not.
    • When Mom leaves, Marjane feels rejuvenated from all the maternal affection she's received.
  • Chapter 26

    Hide and Seek

    • Doctor Heller's house has a nice terrace, but Heller's dog poops on Marjane's bed on a weekly basis, which pretty much ruins the relaxing atmosphere.
    • At school, Marjane meets a cute boy: Enrique.
    • Problem: he's gay.
    • Marjane promises to always be friends with him, but she soon loses touch with him.
    • She meets another boy: Jean-Paul, but he doesn't seem to be interested in her either.
    • On the weekends, Marjane spends time at the anarchist compound where she and Enrique used to hang out. She does a lot of drugs.
    • One night, she meets yet another boy: Markus.
    • They hit it off pretty well, although Markus's mother hates Marjane.
    • Marjane is getting pooped on from all ends, too. (Not just by Frau Heller's dog, either.) Frau Heller calls Marjane a prostitute, so Marjane spends her evenings cursing Heller in Persian, a language the woman doesn't understand.
    • Meanwhile, hooked on hash (not hash browns), Marjane finds a place to buy it and becomes her school's trusted drug dealer.
  • Chapter 27

    The Croissant

    • It's Marjane's last year at school, so she has to take the French baccalaureate.
    • God comes to her in a dream and tells her that the essay subject will be "Slavery of the Negroes."
    • Marjane calls her mom, who tells God to pass this message to the examiner.
    • Sure enough, that's the subject, and Marjane gets the best score in the school.
    • However, the headmaster is dismayed at the prevalence of cannabis in the school. He seems to be sure Marjane is the one supplying it, and he gives her a stern warning.
    • Meanwhile, she and Markus start drifting apart.
    • The day before her birthday, she gets invited to a friend's house and Markus doesn't want to come.
    • Marjane misses her train, however, and surprises Markus at home.
    • And what a surprise it is: he's in bed with another woman. How very Lifetime Original Movie of him.
    • They break up, and Marjane never sees him again.
  • Chapter 28

    The Veil

    • Things aren't going well at Frau Doctor Heller's house. Heller blames Marjane for stealing her brooch. We'd rather be a horse at Frau Blucher's castle than Marjane right about now.
    • Completely lost, Marjane tells Frau Doctor Heller to "go fuck yourself" (28.13) and leaves to live on the streets.
    • She rides the warm buses and trains until she runs out of money, and then she scrounges for food in the trash.
    • Soon she gets thrown off all the trains and trams, so she sleeps on a bench.
    • She gets so sick that she starts coughing up blood and passes out.
    • A few days later, she wakes up in the hospital, grateful to be alive.
    • Okay, she's alive. Great. But she still has no money or home. She remembers that her mom's friend Zozo owes her money, so she calls her up.
    • Her parents call while she's at Zozo's house collecting the money. Marjane decides to return home to live with her parents again in Iran.
  • Chapter 29

    The Return

    • Returning to Tehran gets Marjane her parents back… at the expense of her personal liberty and the freedom to show off her hair and ankles. Showing off her hairy ankles? Forget about it.
    • Marjane is overwhelmed to be back. She's also excited that her parents are talking to her as though she's an adult, their equal, for the first time.
    • When she realizes just how much the Iranians have suffered over the last few years, she feels great shame over her life in Vienna. "My Viennese misadventures seemed like little anecdotes of no importance" (29.78), she says.
    • She decides to never tell them what she went through there.
  • Chapter 30

    The Joke

    • Marjane doesn't want to see her extended family, but they want to see her. It's like being forced to go a buffet for lunch when all you want is an appetizer.
    • She's also having trouble relating to her old friends. Now all her friends want to do is go to clubs and find a husband. This isn't Marjane's scene.
    • Despite seeing so many people in such a short period of time, she feels alone.
    • Her mother mentions a friend Marjane hasn't seen: Kia. He was forced to serve in the military and was disabled. Marjane decides to go visit him.
    • On the way there, she becomes worried that she won't be able to relate to him either.
    • Kia is in a wheelchair and has no limbs on the left side of his body, but he remains optimistic and hopes to get prosthetics soon.
    • Once Marjane gets over her initial shock, she and Kia catch up and joke like they never grew apart.
    • She tells us that she saw him a few more times before he left for the U.S. and they grew apart again.
    • The lesson she learned sticks with her, though: "The only way to bear the unbearable is to laugh at it" (30.69).
  • Chapter 31

    Skiing

    • Marjane is depressed because she's still hiding what happened during her time in Vienna. She wants people to understand her, but she doesn't want to tell them what she lived through.
    • A friend invites her skiing, so she goes and has fun.
    • Well, she has fun until she admits that she's had sex and one of her friends calls her a whore. Even sitting in front of a roaring fire with a mug of hot chocolate on top of a snow-covered mountain can't fix that.
    • Back home, Marjane goes to therapy. She is prescribed medication.
    • The medication prevents her from feeling anything except like she's "in a trance" (31.33).
    • Her parents go away for ten days, and Marjane tries to kill herself.
    • Slitting her wrists proves too hard, so Marjane takes all her antidepressants at once.
    • She sleeps for three days, wakes up to some freaky hallucinations, but lives.
    • She decides self-improvement is better than self-destruction, and gives herself a makeover to become an aerobics instructor… like an Iranian Jane Fonda.
  • Chapter 32

    The Exam

    • At a party, Marjane meets Reza, "the man that [she] would marry two years later" (32.26).
    • They hit it off instantly, and even though they are total opposites, they complement one another. They're the yin to the other's yang, the peanut butter to each other's jelly, the pickles to each other's mayonnaise… Wait, what?
    • Anyway, both of them apply to the college of art… and—phew—both of them get in.
    • This being Iran, there's one more hurdle of course: the part where Marjane has to prove that she's uber-religious.
    • Instead of lying, Marjane is honest: she likes talking to God, but she doesn't believe that God intends women to be subjugated.
    • Despite speaking her mind, Marjane gets in. The examiner really appreciated her honesty.
  • Chapter 33

    The Makeup

    • To impress Reza, Marjane wears makeup out.
    • The guardians—those who enforce the restrictive religious law—show up for a raid.
    • To deflect attention away from herself, Marjane says a nearby man said something indecent to her. That man is arrested.
    • Reza praises Marjane's quick thinking and self-preservation skills.
    • Later, she relays the story to Grandma. Grandma is, well, less than praising. "I think that you're a selfish bitch" (33.46), she says. Whoa. Our grandma just gives us ugly sweaters…
    • Grandma is sorely disappointed in Marjane. Her ancestors died to protect innocents, and Marjane is pinning blame on them to escape her own punishment.
    • Marjane is mortified that Grandma is disappointed in her.
  • Chapter 34

    The Convocation

    • A few good things happen: Marjane starts school, she makes some new friends, and her grandmother forgives her.
    • However, it's not long before Marjane starts speaking her mind at school, condemning the Islamic regime's double standards: Men can wear what they want (to an extent), but women must be covered.
    • She gets called before the Islamic Convention. We would call it the Is-Con for short, but it is nothing like Comic-Con.
    • Instead of punishing her, they make her design the model for the uniform for female students.
    • It takes great thought, but she designs one with a short head-scarf and wide trousers. These two things are subtle, but they are small steps toward independence.
    • Designing these garments earns her even more respect from her grandmother.
  • Chapter 35

    The Socks

    • Art class isn't going well—it's hard to do figure drawing when your figure is in a head-to-toe burka. Where are Bob Ross and his happy trees when you need them?
    • They eventually get to draw men, whose limbs are at least distinguishable.
    • However, Marjane gets in trouble for looking at a male model. She asks, "Should I draw this man while looking at the door?" (35.12), and the person reprimanding her actually says yes.
    • This absurdity just makes Marjane more and more rebellious. Eventually her attitude alienates half of her class.
    • "There was still the other half" (35.33), she says, and this other half starts meeting outside of school to draw each other without robes.
    • They also start throwing secret parties, much like Marjane's parents used to go to when she was was a girl.
    • One night, they are raided and a friend named Farzad flees. He tries to jump from one building's roof to another, and he falls to his death.
    • The friends are shaken, and many stop partying altogether. But Marjane knows that this is what the regime wants—to end partying—so she just parties harder, like Andrew W.K.
  • Chapter 36

    The Wedding

    • Bells will be ringing…
    • Marjane and Reza decide to get married, but Marjane's dad wants to talk to him first.
    • He makes Reza agree to give Marjane the right to divorce if she ever wants it. Marjane tells us, "[Dad] had always known that I would get divorced. He wanted me to realize by myself that Reza and I were not made for each other" (36.14). That is what we in the lit biz call foreshadowing. It's also what we call pretty awesome parenting.
    • Marjane's parents throw a huge party and give Marjane and Reza a traditional Iranian marriage.
    • As soon as she's married, she feels like prison bars have trapped her in and she's no longer an independent woman.
    • Within a month, Marjane and Reza are sleeping in separate beds and fighting with each other on a daily basis. Well that was a short honeymoon…
  • Chapter 37

    The Satellite

    • War. What is it good for? Well, it seems to be good at the moment, because Saddam Hussein is waging war against Kuwait instead of Iran. For the Iranians anyway, it's a nice break.
    • A friend of the family gets a satellite dish, so the family races over to get news from the outside world. It's like reading a newspaper after subsisting on a diet consisting solely of Fox News or CNN.
    • Marjane gets a little too addicted to the TV, though, using it to retreat from her personal life.
    • Her dad calls her out on it, and they fight.
    • They soon make up, because Marjane realizes Dad is right. He buys her a bunch of books, and she returns to a pastime that has always suited her well: reading.
  • Chapter 38

    The End

    • For the final project in art school, Marjane and Reza are tasked with designing a theme park. Marjane calls it "Disneyland in Tehran" (38.7), and the theme is Iranian mythology.
    • Working on the project marks the first time in a long time that Reza and Marjane get along.
    • It's great, but Marjane realizes the only reason they're getting along is because they're distracted by their work.
    • As she talks to her grandmother and witnesses the controlling way a male friend deals with his wife, Marjane becomes more and more comfortable with the idea of divorce.
    • She decides to not just divorce Reza, but to divorce Iran. Marjane will divorce him and return to Europe to live her own life.
    • She spends her final few days breathing in the air of the Caspian Sea, being close to her grandmother, and visiting Uncle Anoosh's tomb.
    • Her family takes her to the airport, like they did when she was a girl. "My mother didn't faint and my grandma was there, happily" (38.88), she says.
    • Marjane tells us she only saw her grandma once more before she died. "Freedom had a price" (38.88).