Bibliography, Book Reviews

Closing the gap between east and west in “Persepolis”

Cover of Persepolis 1, 2000. L'Association Fre...
Cover of Persepolis 1, 2000. L’Association French edition. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In her graphic novel, Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi examines the pedagogical issue of “othering” and creates closeness between her western audience and its perceived enemy – the Iranian people – by speaking directly to and carefully instructing the reader on Iran and its people. She explicitly teaches the reader about the Iranian revolution and how she and Iranians like her are very much like us here in the West.

The history of Iran that Satrapi provides in the introduction creates a frame for her story in which the reader must consider the fact that the fundamentalists who now rule Iran were created by the west. She also strives to strip away the “otherness” and show us that we are, in many ways, more alike than we are different. Satrapi uses her text to show her western audience that she and other educated Iranians like her are more like everyday westerners than they are like the fundamentalist Iranians who are so vilified by the west.

Throughout Persepolis, the character of Marji often speaks directly to the western reader. There is no question that Satrapi uses her text to teach to a western audience. For example, in the scene on pages 114-115, Marji walks purposefully down a flight of stairs toward her audience. She may as well be an actor on a stage, pausing the show to step down to audience-level and explain her country’s descent into war. Such a move would not be necessary if she were writing for an Iranian audience. Continue reading “Closing the gap between east and west in “Persepolis””

Blogging, Book Reviews, Memoir, Women in the World

Read with me: Spring 2015 reading list

Two of the books on my reading list
I just barely managed to get these two books purchased in time to get my reading done for class this week. I’m planning to get the rest of my books from the library as I need them. Seriously, who can afford to actually buy books?

This semester, I am taking a graduate-level course in women’s life writing in an attempt to generate blog post ideas. I’ve found that I write more when I’m taking classes, so my plan is to just continually take classes for the rest of my life whether I need any more degrees or not. It’s lucky I recently landed a full-time civil servant position at a state university where one of the benefits is free tuition!

It’s also too bad you can’t eat tuition, but that’s another blog post entirely.

Since I’ll probably end up discussing some of the books we’re reading for class this semester, I thought I’d share my reading list with you in case you would like to read along: Continue reading “Read with me: Spring 2015 reading list”