Study Guide

Persepolis Mortality

By Marjane Satrapi

Mortality

People die every day, claimed by old age, cancer, doing stupid tricks to be the next YouTube sensation, and so on. But in Iran, it seems like there are a lot more ways to die than usual: war, religious persecution, being tortured by the police. The Iranian people are constantly surrounded by death. It's on the news, and all their streets are named after martyrs. Marjane even mentions at some point that it's like living in a graveyard. The Nightmare Before Christmas this ain't. This is just a nightmare.

Questions About Mortality

  1. Is Marjane desensitized to death by seeing so much of it as a child?
  2. How do different deaths affect Marjane in different ways? (Compare and contrast the death of Uncle Anoosh with the death of Neda Baba-Levy, for example.)
  3. In what ways do Iranian parents try to hide death from their children? Are they successful? What do Marjane's parents do that other children's parents don't, and vice versa?
  4. Why does the omnipresence and glamorization of martyrdom disturb Marjane so much?

Chew on This

Death is a way of life in Iran, but it never gets easy for Marjane to cope with.

The Iranian government is losing so many of its citizens, they have to make death something to celebrate to keep people from rebelling against them… or at least delay the next inevitable revolution.