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IB Candidate Number: TBD

Part I: Works in Translation Reflective Statement

The Complete Persepolis
PROMPT: How was your understanding of cultural and
contextual considerations of the work developed through
the interactive oral discussion?
After Reviewing the Interactive Oral presentation on the setting and
time period of The Complete Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi, I was able to
further understand many of the major conflicts that Marjane experiences
over the course of the book. To start, an understanding of the Iranian
revolution, allowed me to understand not only the living situation of Iranians
at the time, but also the internal conflicts of the women who were forced to
wear the veil. During the revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini took control over
Iran, and enforced very strict religious Guidelines, one of which being the
requirement of every woman to wear a veil. Many Iranian women found this
to be very oppressive and often rebelled. During this time there were also
many casualties due to rebellion. This knowledge allowed me to understand
that what happened to Marji happened to many mores throughout the war
ridden country. After the Iranian revolution, Iraq invaded Iran, which resulted
in 8 more years of war and political turmoil. Understanding of this event
allowed me to further appreciate the struggle of Iran during these years.
Without knowing about the wars, the reader would not be able to get to the
true meaning of the book, that meaning being Satrapis hardships as she
matured in life. Along with the impactful events, Fidel Castro also played a
role in the mind of young Marjane Satrapi. Marjane idolized him due to his
passion for social injustice. this was very clearly due to the clear separation
of social classes in Iran at the time. This idolization is a key component to the
character developement of Marji due to the fact that it reveals the integrity,
persistence and rebellion of Marji. Marjane also idolized Che Guevara due to
his beliefs that were very similar to those of Fidel Castro, and also his support
of Fidel Castro in the taking of Cuba.
Word Count: 312

Written Assignment
IB Candidate Number: TBD

Exploring the Bold Contrast of Color in

Marjane Satrapis The Complete Persepolis
Within the Short series of books that is The Complete Persepolis, the
author, Marjane Satrapi uses many different techniques to convey her
thoughts pertaining to her maturation. But of these methods, Satrapis use of
contrast between the black and the white coloring of her panels, and the
specific use of shading to allude to the omnipresent battle of good and evil in
the world. Of all of the thematic schemes involved in Satrapis work, This
frequent, acute contrast between black and white holds by far the most
impact upon the tale of maturing during the time period of a war-ridden Iran.

Throughout the book, Satrapi often cuts the characters faces in half
with vivid use of shading. The first example of this can be seen in a panel
early in the book that depicts 5 soldiers standing side by side to prevent
citizens from saving those locked inside of a burning theater (Satrapi 14/6).
The significance of this panel lies in the context of which the partial shading
of the face was used. The soldiers are clearly going through an internal
conflict of morals due to the fact that they are killing innocent civilians. When
delving deeper into the novel, another example of the shading is revealed

when Satrapi again shades the face of the Shah when he is stepping down
from his position of power (Satrapi 41/4). In this context, the character that
depicts the splitting of black and white is again going through a significant
internal conflict. In this instance, the Shah is conflicted due to a clear love of
his nation, but also clearly feels an obligation to the people of Iran to step
down from power for the better of the country.

Another effective use of shading is also used by Satrapi when

conveying conflict amongst the characters. Although the two methods are
both used to show conflict, in one example, Satrapi shades on half of the
characters face, while in the other examples, Satrapi shades the entire body
of the conflicted character. An example of this can be seen When three
miscellaneous characters are justifying the deaths of civilians during a
bombing raid (Satrapi 320/2,3,4). In these panels, the characters who are
completely eclipsed in black are conflicted in the sense that they are in a
sense revoking their own humanity by stating that the people killed deserved
what came their way. This type of shading can again be seen when Marji is
fleeing the house of Markus when she catches him in the act of cheating
(Satrapi 232/9). In this panel, the reader is able to identify that Marji relies
very heavily upon her relationships with the people in her life, and when
those relationships are broken, she falls into a state of discord. While in this
state, Marji is required to cope with the fact that even though she may have
loved Markus with all of her heart, he did not feel the same. And the result of

those thoughts is a broken hearted girl, again showing the negativity

associated with the shading involved in the novel.

As a final example of Facial shading in the text to convey a conflict,

Satrapi shades the face of both herself and Reza while they work on their
school project (Satrapi 328/6). This illuminates to the readers yet again that
the marriage of Marjane is causing conflicts in the minds of Marji and Reza. In
this panel, Marji, as previously revealed, does not know whether she still
loves Reza. The presence of that conflict results in the shading of both her
and Rezas faces.
On the other hand, Satrapi also uses a greater contrast in panels that
carry greater emotional weight. An example of this the last panel of the
chapter, The Shabbat. In said panel, an Iraqi bombing had just occurred and
Marji comes to the realization that one of her neighbors was killed in the
blast (Satrapi 142/5). In this scene, Marji is in very close contact with death
and Satrapi uses a panel that is completely black to convey a deeper
meaning. When reviewing evidence throughout the book, It can be seen by
the reader that more often than not, when Satrapi is telling of a death or
some devastating event, the panels involved are dominated by a black
background and very little white. But when the plot of the story turns to a
happier note, the panels are largely dominated by white coloring with very
little shading.

An example of Satrapis use of a dominance of white to display a

calmer or happy situation can be seen when Marji is on vacation with Lucia
and everyone involved is very happy (Satrapi 170/4). In this specific panel,
the reader can see a joyous scene where Marji and Lucia are laughing and
singing, both of which are very happy activities. Another instance of Satrapis
use of contrast with the situational dominance of black or white is revealed
when Marji reunites with her mother at the Vienna airport (Satrapi 200/8). In
this setting, the only black used is the necessary figures of the characters,
the text, and the Distinguishing of the panel from the others; while the white
of the panel encompasses everything else displaying the pure joy associated
with the text. When expressing, happiness in her text, Satrapi frequently
returns to the subject of family more than any other. Incidentally, These
panels are generally dominated majorly by a use of large quantities of white
in the setting and faces involved.

Finally, Satrapi again uses a powerful contradiction of black over white

when discussing the negative direction of her marriage, where she reveals
that her and Reza abandoned the idea of sharing even a bed after one month
of marriage (Satrapi 319/1). When the living situation is directly addressed,
The panel is almost completely drawn in black with just enough white to
distinguish the faces of Marjane and Reza. This evidence supports the
significance of the conflicting colors used in the panels due to the nature of
the panel, which shows the first steps of the breakdown of Marjanes

marriage. In an all encompassing point of view, one of the most frequently

negative parts of Marjis life is her marriage to Reza. Uncoincidentally, the
majority of the scenes that involve both her and Reza are dominated
considerably by dark themes that involve large portions of the panel being
obscured by black.

Conclusively, When combined, these clever use of shadowing and

contrast throughout the novel Contribute greatly to the overall theme of the
omnipresent battle between forces of good and evil in the lives of humanity.
Satrapi uses the effects of contrast and shadowing to emphasize the two
enemies within her text. Using black to symbolize the ever present evil in
life; and the white to display the ever present possibility of happiness in
every situation. While Satrapi could have used bright colors versus darker
colors in the text, the message is infinitely more apparent due to her choice
of black and white, whose juxtaposition simply emboldens the significance of
her theme. Where as a use of color would have conveyed the same meaning,
but not nearly as intensely.

Word Count: 1,204

Works Cited
Satrapi, Marjane. The Complete Persepolis. New York: Pantheon, 2007. Print.

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