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Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return

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Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return Cover

 

 

Reading Group Guide

The questions and discussion topics that follow are designed to enhance your group’s reading of Persepolis 2 by Marjane Satrapi. Persepolis 2 begins where Persepolis ends, with Marjane leaving Iran and arriving in Austria to attend high school and live with family friends. After four years filled with loneliness, confusion and prejudice, Marjane returns to her parents in Iran. We observe her difficult homecoming and the life she manages to carve out for herself–friends, university, romance–before the repression and the relentless, state-sanctioned chauvinism force her to face whether she can have a future in her homeland. Funny and heartbreaking, edgy and searingly observant, Persepolis 2 follows the life of Marjane and her country.

1. Compare Persepolis 2 to other stories of the immigrant experience you’ve read (perhaps The House on Mango Street, The House of Sand and Fog, The Joy Luck Club) or to what you imagine emigrating to a new country to be like. What are the basic difficulties shared by immigrants? What does one gain and lose by leaving one’s country and adopting a new one? How does one calculate/weigh the gains and losses? Why does Marjane leave Iran, return, and then leave again? Will she always be “a Westerner in Iran, an Iranian in the West”?

2. How do you think Marjane’s experience would have been similar or different if she had gone to a high school in the United States, in your hometown? Would you have befriended her?

3. Why is adolescence an especially difficult time to move to a new country? Or even to a new city? What is universal about Marjane’s high school experience? What is unusual about her situation? Compare/contrast her high school experience to your own.

4. How is Persepolis 2 particular to its time? How does the cultural and political atmosphere of the 1980s affect Marjane? What trends (in attitude, dress) does Marjane refer to and adopt in Austria that are specific to the 1980s? What does the book teach you about that time? What were you doing in the 1980s?

5. What are the similarities and differences between the little girl in Persepolis and the more mature Marjane in Persepolis 2? How has she changed? In what ways have her experiences affected her personality? And how has her personality affected her experiences?

6. What does Marjane learn from her experiences with drugs, homelessness, depression, and a suicide attempt? How did she slip into those periods? What external and internal forces brought her to take to living on the streets? How does she overcome these obstacles and transform herself into a stronger woman?

7. How is this story different in comic strip form than if it were a straight prose memoir? What do the black and white images add to the narrative? What has Satrapi emphasized and what has she overlooked by telling her story in a non-traditional manner?

8. How is Marjane’s political sense/being formed? Which experiences and people most influence her and pique her interest in politics?

9. Persepolis, the first volume, received much praise and sold well across the United States. How do you explain its appeal? Why is a book about growing up in Iran succeeding in the United States at this time? What drew you to this book? What have you learned about Iran? How is Iran’s recent history inextricably entwined with Marjane’s story?

10. What have you learned about university life in Tehran? Describe how the authorities enforce the separation of the sexes, and how the students circumvent these rules. If you’ve read Reading Lolita in Tehran, compare the life of those women with that of Marjane and her friends.

11. In the beginning of Persepolis 2, Marjane wants to become “a liberated and emancipated woman.” By the end, do you think she achieves this goal? In what ways is this story a typical coming-of-age tale filled with obstacles that the protagonist must overcome on her journey to adulthood? How is this similar or different to coming-of-age stories that you’ve read?

12. Persepolis 2 is filled with vibrant secondary characters. Describe some of them. Describe the men in Marjane’s life and her relationships with them. Who stands out as the most memorable and influential person on Marjane?

13. Why does Marjane frame an innocent man while waiting for her boyfriend one afternoon? How is she betraying her family as well as the man himself? How does she redeem herself in her grandmother’s eyes? While in Austria, Marjane tries to assimilate and denies being Iranian, “betraying my parents and my origins”? How and why does she betray them? What are the consequences of this? Do you think her betrayals are justified?

14. How do tradition, family, duty, opportunity and memory each play a role in determining whether Marjane returns to Europe or not by the end of the book? Why do Marjane’s parents encourage her to leave both times, as a 14-year-old and as a 22-year-old, though they remain in Iran?

15. Despite being forced to wear the veil in Iran and hating it, Satrapi recently wrote an article in The Guardian (UK) newspaper against banning the veil in French schools and stating that forcing girls not to wear the veil is as bad as forcing them to do so. Do you agree with her stance? Describe the role of the veil in Persepolis 2. What is its religious and social purpose? How do the women deal with wearing the veil?

Product Details

ISBN:
9780375422881
Author:
Satrapi, Marjane
Publisher:
Pantheon Books
Location:
New York
Subject:
Women
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Subject:
Ethnic Cultures - General
Subject:
Graphic Novels - General
Subject:
Satrapi, Marjane
Subject:
Social conditions
Subject:
Women -- Iran.
Subject:
Biography-Ethnic Cultures
Subject:
Biography-Women
Copyright:
Edition Description:
American
Publication Date:
August 2004
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
BandW DRAWINGS THROUGHOUT
Pages:
192
Dimensions:
9.28x6.36x.82 in. .99 lbs.

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Related Subjects


Biography » General
Biography » Women
Fiction and Poetry » Graphic Novels » General
Fiction and Poetry » Graphic Novels » Literary
Fiction and Poetry » Graphic Novels » Nonfiction
History and Social Science » Gender Studies » Womens Studies
History and Social Science » World History » Middle East

Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$17.95 In Stock
Product details 192 pages Pantheon Books - English 9780375422881 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Satrapi's story is compelling and extremely complex....It would have made a stirring document no matter how it was told, but the graphic form...endows it with a combination of dynamism and intimacy....And it is wildly charming."
"Review" by , "Satrapi's high-contrast, bold-lined, stencil-ish artwork remains very much at the service of one of the most compelling youth memoirs of recent years."
"Review" by , "The art, though less mature in Persepolis, was more visceral. However, Persepolis 2 has a better story. Satrapi has real comic timing, which she makes good use of in the teenage narrative."
"Review" by , "Persepolis 2 never feels anything less than effortless. The art is still the best kind of simple...and it dances nicely with narration and dialogue that balance the absurd horrors of the fundamentalist regime with humorous moments that make it just bearable."
"Review" by , "What is astonishing about Satrapi's work is that with evocative drawings and minimal use of words, it creates immensely sympathetic and real characters."
"Synopsis" by , The eagerly anticipated sequel to Marjane Satrapi's internationally acclaimed memoir-in-comic-strips. Funny and heartbreaking, edgy and searingly observant, Satrapi's tale about the life of one adolescent and about the life of an entire nation continues with the same dazzling combination of singular artistry, insight, and storytelling as her first book.
"Synopsis" by , In Persepolis 2, Marjane Satrapi continues her tale with the same dazzling combination of singular artistry, insight, and storytelling elan. Funny and heartbreaking, edgy and searingly observant — both about the life of one adolescent and about the life of an entire nation — Persepolis 2 is a clear confirmation of Satrapi's stunning talents.
"Synopsis" by , Funny and heartbreaking, edgy and searingly observant, Satrapi's tale about the life of one adolescent and about the life of an entire nation continues with the same dazzling combination of singular artistry, insight, and storytelling as her first book.
"Synopsis" by , Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood

Wise, funny, and heartbreaking, Persepolis is Marjane Satrapis memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shahs regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq. The intelligent and outspoken only child of committed Marxists and the great-granddaughter of one of Irans last emperors, Marjane bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country.

Persepolis paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran and of the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life. Marjanes childs-eye view of dethroned emperors, state-sanctioned whippings, and heroes of the revolution allows us to learn as she does the history of this fascinating country and of her own extraordinary family. Intensely personal, profoundly political, and wholly original, Persepolis is at once a story of growing up and a reminder of the human cost of war and political repression. It shows how we carry on, with laughter and tears, in the face of absurdity. And, finally, it introduces us to an irresistible little girl with whom we cannot help but fall in love.

Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return

Here is the continuation of Marjane Satrapi's fascinating story. In 1984, Marjane flees fundamentalism and the war with Iraq to begin a new life in Vienna. Once there, she faces the trials of adolescence far from her friends and family, and while she soon carves out a place for herself among a group of fellow outsiders, she continues to struggle for a sense of belonging.

Finding that she misses her home more than she can stand, Marjane returns to Iran after graduation. Her difficult homecoming forces her to confront the changes both she and her country have undergone in her absence and her shame at what she perceives as her failure in Austria. Marjane allows her past to weigh heavily on her until she finds some like-minded friends, falls in love, and begins studying art at a university. However, the repression and state-sanctioned chauvinism eventually lead her to question whether she can have a future in Iran.

As funny and poignant as its predecessor, Persepolis 2 is another clear-eyed and searing condemnation of the human cost of fundamentalism. In its depiction of the struggles of growing up—here compounded by Marjanes status as an outsider both abroad and at home—it is raw, honest, and incredibly illuminating.

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