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The Veil Marjane Satrapi Essay Checker

Veiled Threats

The veil is quite the fashion statement, like wearing jeggings or a fedora. However, neither jeggings nor a fedora are closely tied with religious fundamentalism. The veil is. Although some women may choose to wear the veil, most women in Marji's family, including Marjane and her mother, do not. That should be fine—people should be able to wear what they please (although, we have to note, that most people do not look good in jeggings).

The Muslim regime of Iran thinks differently. They think that women should have to wear the veil, because everyone in Iran needs to follow their religion. Clothing is important to Iranians, because the smallest changes show your allegiance. Marjane tells us that "year by year, women were winning an eighth of an inch of hair and losing an eighth of an inch of veil" (34.11). Big battles are won by inches, not miles.

We're sure you've figured this out, but the veil is a big ol' symbol of how women are oppressed in Iran. Marjane has to put it back on before she can even enter the country. Wearing the veil is her least favorite thing about going back to Iran because it serves as a constant reminder that she is less of a person. We talk about women and oppression more in the "Themes" section, so if there isn't enough oppression in your life today, go check that out.

The opening chapter of Persepolis describes the implementation of the veil policy in Iran. After the populist 1979 Islamic Revolution, during which the westernized monarch, called the Shah, is overthrown in favor of an Islamic Republic, the new government becomes increasingly religious and oppressive and makes it obligatory for women and girls to wear a veil that covers most of their faces. The girls at Marjane’s school, including her friends, Golnaz, Mahshid, Narine, Minna, do not like the veil, particularly because they do not understand why they must wear it. At the same time at school they play games as if they are revolutionaries: “Execution in the name of freedom!” In the first drawing that opens the book, a group of girls sit in a row with their veils and look unhappy; Marjane sits with them, but she is partially cut by the frame.

Persepolis opens with the implementation of a government policy, that of the wearing of the veil, which on the political level captures the repressiveness of the Islamic Republic and for Marjane in particular encapsulates throughout her childhood a symbolic shrouding of her desires for freedom and self-expression. Only a child, she is thrust into a whirlwind of change that she cannot possible understand, and yet her and her schoolmates attempt to make sense of it: though they react negatively against the veil, they support a grim revolutionary slogan that they must have heard first from adults. Marjane’s positioning half in and half out of in the frame foreshadows how she will, at the end of the book, leave Iran, but also never “escape” the pull of Iran as her homeland.

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