Monday, March 30, 2009

Persepolis Painting a Picture

Tekoa Smith

Paint a picture is exactly what a graphic novel does. The use of images to convey a story that would fall short with just text alone. To allow the reader to become involved in the story by determining what happens in the sequence with closure or by seeing oneself in a character(s). All of the significance of comics described when analysing McCloud's Understanding Comics. What Satrapi does in Persepolis is allows us to enter her world as a child. We follow back to that time with her so that we experience what she has already lived being in Iran during the time of regimes, revolutions, political confusion and war.

Being a child of war is something many are privileged to never have to experience. Being apart of that environment can force a child to grow up quick and become more in tune to mature matters, unlike most kids. Satrapi was definitely wise beyond her years early on. Knowing the inside outs of politics in her country as well as being well informed of the history of the events that are shaping her childhood. Because this story is a memoir of Satrapi's childhood I felt it only appropriate that is be told through the art of comics; which often are associated with children and the medium as a juvenile interest.

Persepolis puts into images the events that could quite possibly come from an adolescent diary. I thought I've had about sharing the interesting stories of my past to others.

To me a diary is a very intimate possession but denotes a sense of publicity. Ideals and discreet thoughts are often put into a diary but with conscience notion that it can be available to others. The intrigue details of a diary help to signify and event in a certain point in time. Help a reader and author to remember emotions or specific sensory information of a time and place. A diary is away for the author to have an intimate written conversation with something else. The joy of a diary is that no matter what the emotion portrays, weather a trying time or joyous, that specific periods continues to have life. An event placed in a diary moments after it has happened can feel like they just happened yesterday when revisiting that same diary entry years later. And because a diary is that private conversation between the author him/herself essentially, a reader is compelled to become active in the story.

Having kept diaries myself for years (and still do) and being a fan of works such as The Diary of Anne Frank and Little Women, Persepolis was of extreme interest to me. No better way to explain a coming of age during a time when words are only half of what a story can offer.

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