Marjane Satrapi wrote the graphic novel “The Complete Persepolis” for many reasons; however the ultimate purpose of her story is to teach. Marjane Satrapi wanted to open up people’s eyes worldwide to Iranian culture in order to put to rest any incorrect misunderstandings about the Islamic faith. For instance, many westerners are incorrect in thinking that all Muslim’s agree with the actions taken by a small radical group that orchestrated the September 11th attacks, which is simply incorrect. Instead Marjane Satrapi wanted to show the reader that Iranian culture has similar characteristics as Western culture. Marjane Satrapi also wanted to raise awareness on how hard it can be for a foreigner or a person of minority to assimilate into an unknown culture. Marjane Satrapi recalls her own struggles in an attempt to help others. By combining historical events from the Iranian Revolution and her own personal experiences, Marjane Satrapi was able to teach two teach the reader two valuable lessons.
Marjane Satrapi was given a very special opportunity when she was fourteen; she was sent to Austria to finish up her schooling while avoiding the Iran-Iraq conflict. With this opportunity Marjane Satrapi saw firsthand how people viewed her culture: strange. Throughout the graphic novel, Marjane Satrapi tries to educate the western reader that Iranian culture might seem different, yet it is quite similar. In the chapter “The Convocation”, Marjane Satrapi gives the reader an excellent example of how Iranian culture is not so different after all. On page 294, Marjane Satrapi uses an illustration to prove her point. The illustration portrays three women wearing a hooded head- scarf. Then next to each woman is what their hairstyle looks like under their hood-scarf, showing that all three women have different styles. The point of the illustration is to show that even though each woman looks the same from “outside” the Veil, they are actually quite different which is portrayed by their hairstyles. Marjane Satrapi was able to show the reader that just because you can’t visibly see any similarities, many still exist.
The same special opportunity that allowed Marjane Satrapi to view her culture from an outsiders view is the same opportunity that caused her pain and anger. Marjane Satrapi found it difficult to assimilate into Austrian culture and she uses her graphic novel to educate the world on the struggles she encountered. Marjane Satrapi found in particular interactions with males to be much different than she had been used to however is willing to change her beliefs in order to fit in with her peers. In the chapter “Hide and Seek”, Marjane Satrapi tries her best to lose her virginity in order to be more like her friends. Marjane Satrapi states, “I didn’t want to be a timid virgin any longer… Unfortunately, the next morning I was as much a virgin and as timid as the night before”. (pgs. 212-213) Islamic tradition calls for no pre-marital sex, however Marjane Satrapi was willing to go against her faith in order to assimilate into western culture. Marjane Satrapi is not telling the reader not to have sex, but rather do not change who you are just because people think you’re a different.