Central theme grief in Persepolis

Essay, 2016
3 Pages, Grade: 77.4


Central theme grief in Persepolis

Grief is a normal experience by all human beings at one point in their life. Grief can stem from a variety of life experiences ranging from sickness, loss of a loved one, loss of a job or disappointment in business.Grieff heavily consumes human beings and can set them on a path of depression or even death. It is imperative that measure are taken to avoid been consumed by grief as we one goes through life. The full extent of grief on humans is well brought out in the graphic novels, “Persepolis” by Marijane Satrapi and also in the novel “Maus”. Also grief is evident in the Memoirs of C.S Lewis compiled in “Companionship in Grief” by Bermen Jeffrey. Further, grief is seen in “Solomon Thieves” by Mechner, Jordan and Leugen Pham. Through comparative analysis and literature critism, we are going to look at grief as the central theme in “Persepolis” and “’Maus”.

“Persepolis” was written by Satrapi in 2000.She combines pictures and word intelligently to tell the story. The novel was originally published in France where it was printed in four volumes in France and two editions in the U.S. Satrapi was awarded the prize for scenario by the Angouleme International Comic Festival, the largest comics Festival in Eurpe.Further, the novel was ranked as the number five book of the decade by Newsweek.Comentators praised Satrapi for her humor and touching character. Grief is the central theme in the novel. It comes out through the narration and life experiences as told by Satrapi. At the time that Satrapi tells the story, there was political and religious uprisings in Iran.Satrapi’s mother and father regularly attended these protests and supported the revolution sweeping through the country. The uprising and strive in the country brings grief to the people. The government respond harshly to the uprising and all who speak against the regime are executed.

The full extent of the crisis is best captured when Satrapi says that death was all over news and all streets are naked after martyrs. In addition, many people are forced to go into exile form fear of victimization. Satrapi’s uncle, Annoosh, is forced to flee to the U.S.S.R because Iranians believed he was a spy. From the two instances above, it is evident that the revolution protests lead to grief amongst the Iranians as they are executed and forced to flee from their homes. The grief people suffer does not end after the revolution. The Islamic regime that assumes power further compounds grief on Iranian’s. The regime curtails the rights and freedoms of Iranians by introducing strict laws. The people have to wear specific clothes adhering to strict religious observance. In addition, they are not allowed to socialize with people of the opposite sex.Grief is also evident in Satrapi’s life. She finds life difficult in the country and is expelled from school. Her parents ship her to Vienna in Austria where she is alienated from her family and has to adopt to a whole new experiences. Even when she returns into the country later on, things have not changed. She tries to incorporate into the life but is unable. She is forced to return to Europe sadly leaving her relatives behind. That is the last time she sees her grandmother.

Grief is also central in “Maus”. The novel follows Vladek Spielgelman, a Polish Jew, in Poland in the years before and after the Second World War. Maus follows Vladek to his incarceration at Auschwitz concentration camp and how he narrowly survives execution. The author portrays grief through the torture, pain and suffering subjected to Jews by the Nazis. He tells of the experiences of Jewish survivors at Auschwitz and Birken where over fifteen million Jews lost their lives. He explains how the bond that holds human beings together-compassion, friendship, community and family disintegrates and makes Nazis turn on Jews. The novel tells of the quest of the Jews to survive in the face of enormous suffering and hostility. Grief is also evident in “Companionship in Grief” a memoir of C.S. Lewis by Jeffery Berman.He delves into five remarkable marriages to show how stories of love and loss can affect spouses. He focuses on death of a spouse and how it causes despair, anguish and grief on the remaining spouse. “Solomon Thieves” is another novel that shows grief. The novel illustrates the life in mediaeval times and tells stories and experiences of those who escaped immediate capture and went to hiding It tells the story of knight Tempers who were individuals mandated to protect pilgrims on their journey to the Holy land. It illustrate this through the story of Martin, who is forced to join the Templars after his childhood love is forced to marry someone else. Martin is inconsolable after losing his girl and he resorts to become a knight Temper hoping he would forget her. The story shows the grief that exists in losing a loved one.

From the examples above, it is evident that grief affects human beings greatly. Literary critism has been subjected to “Maus” work based on how he has used metaphors in addressing an issue that brought grief to innocent Jews. Maus represents Jews as mice and the Nazis as cats in his novel. He says that Jews were vermin to be exterminated. He has used metaphorical style to represent the relationship that existed between the two groups which was an executor-offender relationship. The metaphorical reference might elicit humor in a reader yet the issues being addressed are serious. Critics have argued that Maus has taken the issue too lightly instead of portraying it in realistic terms. Satrapi’s novel has also been subjected to crritism.Critics have argued that though she intends to portray the grief of the Iranian people through strict government laws and oppression, she doesn’t achieve this purpose. They have cited that the fact that she spent most of her life away from Iran, this alienated her from her people and therefore she is no position to discuss grief of the people. Also, they have argued that Satrapi was from a rich background and she might not share in the experience of the poor majority who were culprits of government oppression. Further, they argue the stories she tells of partying after returning to Iran do not make sense.

From the above, it is crystal clear that Grief is the central theme in the literary works. Life is full of experiences that cause grief to human being. The wars in various parts of the world, disease and natural calamities show the magnitude of the issues and it is only thoughtful that the authors above delve into the issue. Recent research has shown that grief can lead to serious health problems such as high blood pressure and depression. Millions of people struggle with these problems globally. Also, it has led to family problems such as breakups, poor relationship and misunderstanding. It has been proved that majority of young people slip into grief as a result of relationship problems. The research further revealed grief can be tackled through a strong social and family support network and by self-acceptance. Everyone must be prepared to handle grief for we live in a world of uncertainties where stressful events can befall us anytime. Coping mechanisms are fundamental to allow for healing.


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Central theme grief in Persepolis
Kenyatta University
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Doctor Alfhonce Michael (Author), 2016, Central theme grief in Persepolis, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/373293


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