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  1. Introduction
  2. The course of Persepolis
  3. Loss of innocence
  4. The contradiction in the story
  5. The violence surrounding the revolution
  6. The change in Satrapi's responses
  7. Guevara's later experiences with the poor
  8. Further connections made by Guevara with his knowledge
  9. Conclusion
  10. Bibliography

The process of maturation from childhood to adulthood, or ?coming-of-age,? is a unique experience that often shapes the way that an adult will conduct his or her life in the future. In literature, a Bildungsroman outlines the transformational experiences of a young person as they transition into adulthood. Regardless of the circumstances, readers can often identify with the protagonist in such a story because the struggle between childlike innocence and adult understanding is a universal conflict. Marjane Satrapi's memoir, Persepolis, details her upbringing in Iran during politically tumultuous times. Through the protagonist's often conflicting and confusing experiences with the oppressive Iranian regime, the Iraq war and the dynamics within her own politically involved Marxist family, Satrapi relates her own ?coming-of-age? story in an attempt to humanize the Iranian experience. Two shifts, including; her loss of innocence, prompted by the war's erosion of her sense of security and her increased awareness of social inequality; and, her gaining of mature insights through her family's political involvement and her own education and observations, led her to act in ways that were mature beyond her fourteen years. Ernesto ?Che? Guevara told his own version of the ?coming-of-age? story through the diary he kept while he travelled around South America during a break from medical school. Like Satrapi, he came from an upper-middle class family and, also like Satrapi (although to a greater extent), his recognition of social inequality shapes his maturation process. However, Guevara's actions at the end of the Diaries suggest that this portion of his story did not provide many of the major turning points in his life that led him to become the extreme political figure he was in adulthood. While the reader finds that Guevara's journey enables him to put a human face on the innumerable stories of suffering that he had only read about in books (a shift in view of the world), his actions towards certain minority groups suggest that he had not ?dropped all preconceptions? about the then-current class struggle (handout). Additionally, he claims to denounce the class system he inhabits, but his actions and suggestions toward the end of the story (when compared with his actions in his later life) indicate that this journey did not directly transform him into a revolutionary.

[...] When Uncle Anoosh says he was in prison for nine years, she remarks, ?Nine years!? and thinks, ?Better than Laly's father!? (Satrapi 60). After the earth-shattering events through the middle of the novel, Satrapi exhibits more appropriate responses. For instance, when her friend Pardisse writes far the best? report in the class, (in the form of a letter to her dead father), Satrapi (despite the fact that she was very proud of her own report) attempts to ?console? Pardisse, instead of trying to mentally compete with her as she did with Laly. [...]


[...] Like Satrapi, he has many youthful moments of childish immaturity (however, his behavior is obviously still objectively more mature than Satrapi's, considering that he was much older); for example, he and Alberto fool a local newspaper into printing a story about them as ?Argentine Leprosy Experts.? Guevara describes this caper as epitome of [their] audacity? (59). Another instance of youthful indulgence comes when he is drunk at a dance and attempts to seduce a married woman; ?[r]unning back toward the village, pursed by a furious swarm of dancers, Alberto loudly mourned the loss of the wine her husband might have bought (62). [...]


[...] For instance, Satrapi felt that she could alleviate the injustices in her world (the maid eating separately, everyone not having a car and her grandmother's aching knees) by becoming last prophet? (Satrapi 6). This desire quickly dissipates as she becomes more concerned with the political injustice surrounding the revolution; she wrote that year of the revolution [she] had to take action. So [she] put [her] prophetic destiny aside for a while? and she spent her time reading Marxist literature and pretending to be Che Guevara (ironically) (10). [...]

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