Study Guide

Persepolis: Fear Theme

By Marjane Satrapi

Fear Theme

"You have nothing to fear but fear itself" is the biggest lie we've ever heard. Higher up on our Top Ten Scariest Things list, we'd like to add tarantulas, driving in Russia, and living in Iran. The regimes of Iran rely on fear to control their people, scaring them into wearing specific clothing, adhering to strict religious observances, and not socializing with people of the opposite sex. Hmm, maybe if people realized that they shouldn't fear the regime, and only fear their fear, this tactic wouldn't work. Maybe the cliché is right after all.

Questions About Fear

  1. What does Marjane fear most while living in Iran? What does she fear while living in Vienna?
  2. What does Marji's mother fear the most? Does her daughter share the same fears?
  3. How does fear of the regime affect the Iranian people's behavior? How would they behave differently in a nation that doesn't rule with fear? Are there any nations that don't use fear to maintain their power?
  4. Could the regime maintain its power if it chose not to scare the people?

Chew on This

The police in Iran don't exist to protect the people: they exist to protect the best interests of the people in power by instilling fear into everyone else.

The Iranian people don't just have their own government to fear, they are in constant fear of attacks from other countries as well. They have to deal with fear from within and outside their borders.