Persepolis QW 4: Captivity and Freedom

Note: Click here for more information on Quick Writes, the works I respond to, and disclaimers. Mistakes were kept unchanged. Also, spoilers ahead.

Date QW Written: February 26, 2015

Prompt: (TBA)


In Persepolis, Satrapi explores captivity and freedom on a spectrum of extremes, ranging from the banning of shaving to actual imprisonment for political beliefs. In a guise of cultural revolution, the Islamic regime commits oppression through the aspects of the entire spectrum. Soon after the release of political prisoners under the Shah, most of the same prisoners have their freedoms taken again, but this time, are executed. Satrapi’s uncle Anoosh is a prime example. Satrapi also explores the taking away of educational freedom is what she learned in school was constantly morphed to conform with the facade of the regime currently in power. 

Most of all, Satrapi explores the social captivity of a modernizing population under a conservative regime. The regime’s actions span from dictating the people’s apparel to banning partied. While this form of oppression is most thoroughly carried out, it is also the most defied of the Iranian people. Women forced to wear the veil would often let a few strands of hair show in the smallest form of defiance. On a bigger scale, some would host secret parties where banned beer would be served. For example, one of Satrapi’s uncle was a vinter who made beer in his basement and had made some for a said party. In Satrapi’s own home, her mother tries to rid all rules of the regime, living the westernized life they had built together. 

At the root of it all, people’s desire is what prevents them from being free. It is their knowledge of something always better than what they have that keeps people from ever escaping the prison of dissatisfaction. This is shown when the people held captive under the Shah’s knit cage overthrow the said Shah only to find themselves in a smaller but stronger iron cage under the Islamic regime. 

Score: 20



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