Persepolis Discussion Questions

1.      In an Associated Press interview, Satrapi said, “The only thing I hope is that people will read my book and see that this abstract thing, this Axis of Evil, is made up of individuals with lives and hopes.” And in her introduction to Persepolis, she explains that she wrote this book to show that Iran is not only a country of “fundamentalism, fanaticism, and terrorism.” How does Satrapi go about challenging this myth? How does Persepolis dispel or confirm your views on Iran? In what ways does reading this book deepen your understanding and knowledge of Iran, and the current situation in Iraq?

2.      Describe Satrapi’s drawings. How do the drawings add to the narrative of the story?

3.      How did the revolution exert power and influence over so many people, including many educated and middle class people like Satrapi’s parents? Why did so many people leave after the revolution? Why do you think Marji’s parents send her off to Austria while they stay in Tehran? Why don’t they leave/escape as well?

4.      “Every situation has an opportunity for laughs.” (p. 97) Give some examples of how the ordinary citizens of Iran enjoyed life despite the oppressive regime. What made you laugh? How does Satrapi add comic relief?

5.      How do the characters in Persepolis circumvent and defy the rules imposed on them and attempt to live ordinary lives despite revolution and war? Give some examples of their small acts of rebellion.

6.      “In spite of everything, kids were trying to look hip, even under risk of arrest.” (p. 112) How did they do this?

7.      What does Satrapi say regarding disparity between the classes before and after the Iranian Revolution? Discuss some examples that Marji witnesses and contemplates.

8.      At the core of the book is Marji’s family. What is this family like? What is important to Marji’s parents?

9.      What is the role of women in the story? Compare and contrast the various women: Marji, her mother, her grandmother, her school teachers, the maid, the neighbors, the guardians of the revolution.



Persepolis Chapter Questions


  1. According to the introduction, what stereotypical image is Satrapi trying to dispel?
  2. The author indicates two motives for writing Persepolis What are they?

“The Veil”

  1. How was education affected by the new regime? Why?
  2. What did the veil symbolize?
  3. What did bilingual schools symbolize to the new regime?
  4. Did women have a universal response to the veil? Why or why not?
  5. Why was a picture of Marjane’s mother published in the newspaper? How did her mother respond? Why?
  6. Describe the symbolism and conflict represented in the picture on the top left of page 6.
  7. Why does Marji want to be a prophet?
  8. Who is Zarathustra, and what are his three rules for living?
  9. How do others respond to Marji’s religious calling?
  10. Comment on the symbolism in the picture at the bottom of page  - What three attributes of God does Marji wish to embody as a prophet?

“The Bicycle”

  1. Who are Che Guevara, Fidel, and Trotsky? (Look them up!) Why are they important?
  2. The Persian people faced oppression from what four sources?
  3. How does Marji’s relationship with God begin to change?
  4. What happens at the Rex Cinema? What is the political spin?

“The Water Cell”

  1. According to Marji, how was a king chosen? What was her rationale? What is her father’s reaction? Why?
  2. What is a puppet government? In such a system, who seemed to be the real emperor of Persia? Give another example of a puppet nation.
  3. What four things happened to the emperor’s family, and any who opposed the new government, when he was deposed by Reza?
  4. What does Marji’s mother reveal in a flashback? Her husband responds by saying, “That time is past.” What do you think?
  5. Why does God return after a long absence?


  1. How did the Shah’s rule compare to Reza’s?
  2. Discuss the symbolism of the image at the top of page 28.
  3. What did Marji’s father do every day that makes her mother so nervous? Why is this activity strictly forbidden?
  4. Ironically, what happens when a second dead man is carried out on a stretcher during a demonstration?
  5. What happens next that surprises Marji and amuses her family? What do the widow’s actions show about the Persian people?

“The Letter”

  1. What causes Marji to feel so ashamed? Why? How is this realization connected to the revolution?
  2. How does Marji view her?  How does Mehri view Marji?
  3. What did Marji do for six months to help Mehri? Why?
  4. How did news of Mehri’s clandestine affair reach Marji’s father? What was the outcome? Why?
  5. What is Marji’s reaction to the break-up?
  6. What happened on Black Friday? Why? What painful lesson did Marji learn?

“The Party”

  1. How does the Shah attempt to appease the people? Why did he fail?
  2. How had the U.S. changed its public policy toward Iran?
  3. According to Marji’s dad, why will the Middle East never have peace?
  4. What contributes to Marji’s anger and confusion when she returns to school?
  5. What two lessons does Marji learn from her mother?
  6. Why does Ramin believe his father is not a murderer?

“The Heroes”

  1. Where had Siamak and Mohsen been for the last several years? Why?
  2. Who led the training in torture practices?
  3. According to Marji, what makes a hero?


  1. Who is Anoosh? How does Marji feel about him? Why?
  2. Who is Fereydoon? What was his goal?
  3. Where did Anoosh go after Fereydoon’s arrest? How would you characterize him?
  4. Why did Anoosh have to leave so quickly after his arrival? Where did he go?
  5. Who came to visit Fereydoon before his execution?
  6. What does Anoosh study in the USSR?
  7. What gift does Anoosh give to Marji? What does it symbolize?

“The Sheep”

  1. What is the significance of the title? How does it help to characterize the people of Iran?
  2. According to Anoosh, why is it nearly impossible to persuade the population to follow Marxism?
  3. What was the reported outcome of the elections? How does Marji’s father explain these results?
  4. What are the two possible consequences of the people’s ignorance?
  5. Why do Marji’s parents subject themselves to a political upheaval and refuse to leave Iran? What is their opinion of those who left?
  6. What makes Marji suspect that something has happened to Anoosh?
  7. What is Anoosh’s final wish? Why?
  8. Who comes to visit Marji after Anoosh’s death? What is Marji’s reaction?

“The Trip”

  1. What do the fundamentalist students do? How does this event affect Marji’s plans?
  2. Why does the new regime close the universities?
  3. What event causes Marji’s mom to take to her bed for several days?
  4. What does the illustration on pg. 77 reveal about Marji’s feelings about the vacation?
  5. What does Saddam Hussein do at the end of this chapter? Why?
  6. How does Marji feel about the new war?

“The F-14’s”

  1. Does Marji’s father intend to fight against the Iraqis? Why?
  2. What is humorous about the sequence at the bottom of pg 81?