Persepolis

Marjane’s Parents (Mother and Father) Character Analysis

Though many characters in Persepolis appear and then disappear, Marjane’s parents are constants in the graphic novel, the two people who most affect Marjane, and whose cues and beliefs Marjane follows or alternately disregards over the course of her growing up. Educated, politically active, and modern, and accepting of Western culture, Marjane’s parents represent for her an ideal mode of living. During the Revolution her parents demonstrate against the Shah and take other risks to achieve the kind of government they think is best for the people. They are dismayed, however, when the regime that takes the Shah’s place is even more repressive, and though at first they demonstrate against the Islamic Republic, too, and even let Marjane come along—though they always worry about what information to share with her and from what she should remain protected—they realize the danger is too great. They continue living secular, modern lives—but only while indoors. Still, they wish to give Marjane the kind of education and life that will most benefit her, and by the end of the graphic novel they decide that what is best for Marjane is if she leaves them for the foreseeable future and completes her education in Vienna, Austria, away from the repressive Iranian regime.

Marjane’s Parents (Mother and Father) Quotes in Persepolis

The Persepolis quotes below are all either spoken by Marjane’s Parents (Mother and Father) or refer to Marjane’s Parents (Mother and Father). For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Religion, Repression, and Modernity Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the L'Association edition of Persepolis published in 2000.
The Letter Quotes

“You must understand that their love was impossible…because in this country you must stay within your own social class.”

Related Characters: Marjane’s Parents (Mother and Father) (speaker), Marjane Satrapi, Mehri
Page Number: 37
Explanation and Analysis:

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The Party Quotes

“As long as there is oil in the middle east we will never have peace.”

Related Characters: Marjane’s Parents (Mother and Father) (speaker)
Page Number: 43
Explanation and Analysis:

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The Heroes Quotes

My father was not a hero, my mother wanted to kill people…so I went out to play in the street.

Related Characters: Marjane Satrapi (speaker), Marjane’s Parents (Mother and Father), Siamak Jari
Page Number: 52
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

The F-14s Quotes

“The real Islamic invasion has come from our own government.”

Related Characters: Marjane’s Parents (Mother and Father) (speaker), Marjane Satrapi
Page Number: 81
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

War always takes you by surprise.

Related Characters: Marjane Satrapi (speaker), Marjane’s Parents (Mother and Father)
Page Number: 81
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

The Jewels Quotes

“To have the Iraqis attack, and to lose in an instant everything you had built over a lifetime, that’s one thing…but to be spat upon by your own kind, it is intolerable!”

Related Characters: Mali (speaker), Marjane Satrapi, Marjane’s Parents (Mother and Father)
Page Number: 93
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

The Key Quotes

“Our country has always known war and martyrs, so, like my father said: ‘When a big wave comes, lower your head and let it pass!’”

Related Characters: Marjane’s Parents (Mother and Father) (speaker), Marjane Satrapi
Page Number: 94
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia de

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

The Cigarette Quotes

“Now is the time for learning. You have your whole life to have fun!...In this country you have to know everything better than anyone else if you’re going to survive!!”

Related Characters: Marjane’s Parents (Mother and Father) (speaker), Marjane Satrapi
Page Number: 113
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Marjane’s Parents (Mother and Father) Character Timeline in Persepolis

The timeline below shows where the character Marjane’s Parents (Mother and Father) appears in Persepolis. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Veil
Religion, Repression, and Modernity Theme Icon
Nationalism, Heroism, and Martyrdom Theme Icon
Violence, Forgiveness, and Justice Theme Icon
Children, War, and Growing Up Theme Icon
The Personal vs. the Political Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
...describes. On the streets there are demonstrations for and against the veil, of which Marjane’s mother is a part. A German journalist photographs her mother and the photo is placed in... (full context)
Religion, Repression, and Modernity Theme Icon
Nationalism, Heroism, and Martyrdom Theme Icon
Children, War, and Growing Up Theme Icon
The Personal vs. the Political Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
...speaks with God, who appears as a character in the book, and confides with her grandmother about her feelings, though her grandmother is the only person she opens up to. Marjane... (full context)
The Bicycle
Religion, Repression, and Modernity Theme Icon
Nationalism, Heroism, and Martyrdom Theme Icon
Violence, Forgiveness, and Justice Theme Icon
Marjane turns to the history of Iran as explained to her by her father. Her father describes the history of Iran as “2500 years of tyranny and submission.” The... (full context)
Religion, Repression, and Modernity Theme Icon
Violence, Forgiveness, and Justice Theme Icon
Children, War, and Growing Up Theme Icon
One night Marjane overhears her parents speaking about the burning of the Rex Cinema, a famous and popular movie theater in... (full context)
Nationalism, Heroism, and Martyrdom Theme Icon
Violence, Forgiveness, and Justice Theme Icon
Children, War, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...Fidel Castro costume, but God, who she has ignored momentarily to listen further to her parents, has left the room by the time she turns around to ask his opinion of... (full context)
The Water Cell
Religion, Repression, and Modernity Theme Icon
Nationalism, Heroism, and Martyrdom Theme Icon
Children, War, and Growing Up Theme Icon
The Personal vs. the Political Theme Icon
Before the overthrow of the Shah, Marjane’s parents demonstrate in the streets every day and are exhausted, too exhausted to play Monopoly with... (full context)
Religion, Repression, and Modernity Theme Icon
Nationalism, Heroism, and Martyrdom Theme Icon
Children, War, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Her father explains to Marjane that fifty years earlier the Father of the Shah, Reza Shah, organized... (full context)
Nationalism, Heroism, and Martyrdom Theme Icon
Violence, Forgiveness, and Justice Theme Icon
Children, War, and Growing Up Theme Icon
The Personal vs. the Political Theme Icon
At this point Marjane’s father reveals that the emperor that the Father of the Shah overthrew was in fact Marjane’s... (full context)
Persepolis
Nationalism, Heroism, and Martyrdom Theme Icon
Violence, Forgiveness, and Justice Theme Icon
The Personal vs. the Political Theme Icon
Marjane’s grandmother comes over to the house, and Marjane asks her about the times Marjane’s grandfather was... (full context)
Nationalism, Heroism, and Martyrdom Theme Icon
Violence, Forgiveness, and Justice Theme Icon
Children, War, and Growing Up Theme Icon
The Personal vs. the Political Theme Icon
Each day, Marjane’s father goes to take photographs of the continuing demonstrations during the revolution, despite this activity being... (full context)
The Letter
Children, War, and Growing Up Theme Icon
The Personal vs. the Political Theme Icon
...in Iranian society, Marjane remembers her maid Mehri. Mehri became the Satrapi’s maid after Mehri’s parents gave Mehri to the Satrapi family, understanding that their daughter would be better fed in... (full context)
Violence, Forgiveness, and Justice Theme Icon
Children, War, and Growing Up Theme Icon
The Personal vs. the Political Theme Icon
...decides the next day to go out with Mehri and demonstrate in the streets—without her parents’ knowledge. When they come home late at night, Marjane’s mother slaps both of them, angry... (full context)
The Party
Nationalism, Heroism, and Martyrdom Theme Icon
Violence, Forgiveness, and Justice Theme Icon
Children, War, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...to the Shah, Anwar Al-Sadat, the President of Egypt, allows him to reside there. Marjane’s father claims that “as long as there is oil in the middle east we will never... (full context)
Nationalism, Heroism, and Martyrdom Theme Icon
Violence, Forgiveness, and Justice Theme Icon
Children, War, and Growing Up Theme Icon
The Personal vs. the Political Theme Icon
...adults, the children still talk about it incessantly. A friend of Marjane’s explains that Ramin’s father – the father of a boy named Ramin whom they knew – was part of... (full context)
Nationalism, Heroism, and Martyrdom Theme Icon
Violence, Forgiveness, and Justice Theme Icon
Marjane tells Ramin that she forgives him, though Ramin claims that his father “is not a murderer” because “he killed communists and communists are evil.” Continuing to follow... (full context)
The Heroes
Nationalism, Heroism, and Martyrdom Theme Icon
Violence, Forgiveness, and Justice Theme Icon
Children, War, and Growing Up Theme Icon
The Personal vs. the Political Theme Icon
When Laly’s father, Siamak, and Mohsen return from prison, Marjane concedes, “after the revolution I realized that you... (full context)
Religion, Repression, and Modernity Theme Icon
Violence, Forgiveness, and Justice Theme Icon
Children, War, and Growing Up Theme Icon
The Personal vs. the Political Theme Icon
...power…But it didn’t last. I was overwhelmed.” Back home, Marjane runs and cries on Marjane’s mother’s lap, and her mother reassures her daughter by promising that the torturers “will pay for... (full context)
The Sheep
Religion, Repression, and Modernity Theme Icon
Nationalism, Heroism, and Martyrdom Theme Icon
Children, War, and Growing Up Theme Icon
During Anoosh’s stay with Marjane’s family, political discussions occur frequently. Anoosh and Marjane’s father wonder about the contradiction of the revolution. They are amazed that while the “the revolution... (full context)
Nationalism, Heroism, and Martyrdom Theme Icon
The Personal vs. the Political Theme Icon
...friends tells her that his family will soon move to the United States because his parents believe it is “better to leave” than to “live under an Islamic regime.” Much of... (full context)
Religion, Repression, and Modernity Theme Icon
Nationalism, Heroism, and Martyrdom Theme Icon
Violence, Forgiveness, and Justice Theme Icon
The Personal vs. the Political Theme Icon
Marjane’s father receives a phone call, after which he sobs in front of his family. It turns... (full context)
Religion, Repression, and Modernity Theme Icon
Nationalism, Heroism, and Martyrdom Theme Icon
Violence, Forgiveness, and Justice Theme Icon
Children, War, and Growing Up Theme Icon
The Personal vs. the Political Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
Soon after, though Marjane’s parents try to protect Marjane from the fact that Anoosh has been arrested. Nevertheless, Marjane sees... (full context)
The Trip
Religion, Repression, and Modernity Theme Icon
Nationalism, Heroism, and Martyrdom Theme Icon
Children, War, and Growing Up Theme Icon
The Personal vs. the Political Theme Icon
Marjane’s father is very alarmed by what he reads in the morning newspaper. Fundamentalist students have occupied... (full context)
Religion, Repression, and Modernity Theme Icon
Violence, Forgiveness, and Justice Theme Icon
The Personal vs. the Political Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
One night, after Marjane’s mother’s car breaks down in the street, she gets assaulted by two bearded fundamentalist men. They... (full context)
Religion, Repression, and Modernity Theme Icon
Nationalism, Heroism, and Martyrdom Theme Icon
The Personal vs. the Political Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
...affect people’s behaviors: “It wasn’t only the government that changed. Ordinary people changed too.” Marjane’s mother makes sure that Marjane, while in public, claims to be devout and pray during her... (full context)
Religion, Repression, and Modernity Theme Icon
Violence, Forgiveness, and Justice Theme Icon
Children, War, and Growing Up Theme Icon
The Personal vs. the Political Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
Marjane’s mother allows her daughter to attend a demonstration against fundamentalism, reversing her previous stance because she... (full context)
Religion, Repression, and Modernity Theme Icon
Nationalism, Heroism, and Martyrdom Theme Icon
On their return, Marjane’s grandmother explains to them that Iraq and Iran are now at war because Iranian fundamentalists tried... (full context)
The F-14s
Religion, Repression, and Modernity Theme Icon
Nationalism, Heroism, and Martyrdom Theme Icon
Violence, Forgiveness, and Justice Theme Icon
Children, War, and Growing Up Theme Icon
The Personal vs. the Political Theme Icon
...capital of Tehran. Upon hearing the news on the radio while at his office, Marjane’s father yells, “No! The bastards!” Following her father’s lead, Marjane screams even louder, “Those assholes!” On... (full context)
Nationalism, Heroism, and Martyrdom Theme Icon
Violence, Forgiveness, and Justice Theme Icon
The Personal vs. the Political Theme Icon
Marjane proclaims that Iran must bomb the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, though her father remarks that without the generals and fighter pilots, who were jailed after an earlier failed... (full context)
The Jewels
Violence, Forgiveness, and Justice Theme Icon
Children, War, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Not much food is left in the supermarkets, and when Marjane and her mother look for food there they see women fighting with each other over boxes of food.... (full context)
Nationalism, Heroism, and Martyrdom Theme Icon
Children, War, and Growing Up Theme Icon
The Personal vs. the Political Theme Icon
...attendant tells them that Iraq bombed a refinery in Abadan, leading to the shortage. Marjane’s mother thinks of Mali, her childhood friend, who lives in Abadan. Back at home the family... (full context)
Nationalism, Heroism, and Martyrdom Theme Icon
Violence, Forgiveness, and Justice Theme Icon
The Personal vs. the Political Theme Icon
...over the loss of his house, which cost a lot of money to build. Marjane’s father does not like Mali’s husband because he is materialistic. In the morning, one week after... (full context)
The Key
Religion, Repression, and Modernity Theme Icon
Nationalism, Heroism, and Martyrdom Theme Icon
Violence, Forgiveness, and Justice Theme Icon
The Personal vs. the Political Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
...sees the pictures and names of “today’s martyrs.” Marjane is a bit surprised at her mother’s seeming indifference at the pictures; when Marjane mentions the photos, her mother changes the subject... (full context)
Religion, Repression, and Modernity Theme Icon
Nationalism, Heroism, and Martyrdom Theme Icon
Children, War, and Growing Up Theme Icon
When Mrs. Nasrine’s son comes over after school, Marjane’s mother tries to convince him that the stories about paradise that the teachers tell him are... (full context)
The Wine
Religion, Repression, and Modernity Theme Icon
Nationalism, Heroism, and Martyrdom Theme Icon
Violence, Forgiveness, and Justice Theme Icon
The Personal vs. the Political Theme Icon
...the cops find forbidden party items such as cards and cassettes in his house. Marjane’s mother subsequently tapes up the windows of their home, both to protect against flying glass from... (full context)
Nationalism, Heroism, and Martyrdom Theme Icon
...goes off and announces the dropping of a bomb over the city. The baby cousin’s mother wails and hands Marjane the baby before running to protect herself. Marjane is shocked at... (full context)
Religion, Repression, and Modernity Theme Icon
Nationalism, Heroism, and Martyrdom Theme Icon
Violence, Forgiveness, and Justice Theme Icon
The Personal vs. the Political Theme Icon
...the party, a young policeman, a boy who looks about sixteen years old, stops Marjane’s father as the family drives home. Because Marjane’s father wears a tie, the policeman assumes he... (full context)
The Cigarette
Religion, Repression, and Modernity Theme Icon
Children, War, and Growing Up Theme Icon
The Personal vs. the Political Theme Icon
...can still buy Western trappings for those who have it. When Marjane comes home, Marjane’s mother yells at her because she skipped her school lessons in order to buy hamburgers. She... (full context)
The Passport
Nationalism, Heroism, and Martyrdom Theme Icon
Violence, Forgiveness, and Justice Theme Icon
Marjane and her father go to meet a man named Khosro, who spent time in prison with Anoosh. Khosro... (full context)
Kim Wilde
Religion, Repression, and Modernity Theme Icon
Children, War, and Growing Up Theme Icon
The government finally reopens the country’s borders, and Marjane’s parents quickly receive their passports. They take a vacation, just the two of them, to Turkey.... (full context)
Religion, Repression, and Modernity Theme Icon
Children, War, and Growing Up Theme Icon
The Personal vs. the Political Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
Though Marjane is only thirteen, Marjane’s parents let her go out alone, unlike most Iranian parents. One day she goes to buy... (full context)
Religion, Repression, and Modernity Theme Icon
Violence, Forgiveness, and Justice Theme Icon
Children, War, and Growing Up Theme Icon
The Personal vs. the Political Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
...the two women. The two women let her go. Marjane decides not to tell her parents about the episode because she knows that if she does they will never allow her... (full context)
The Shabbat
Violence, Forgiveness, and Justice Theme Icon
The Personal vs. the Political Theme Icon
...before the missiles make landing, which does not give people much time to hide. Marjane’s father says it is useless to try to hide in the shelter in the basement. The... (full context)
Violence, Forgiveness, and Justice Theme Icon
Children, War, and Growing Up Theme Icon
The Personal vs. the Political Theme Icon
...people leave the city because of the ballistic missiles, but Marjane’s family stays, because her parents believe that her education at her school remains her only link to a good future.... (full context)
Violence, Forgiveness, and Justice Theme Icon
Children, War, and Growing Up Theme Icon
The Personal vs. the Political Theme Icon
...has hit her home and home, she can barely walk. She hopes desperately that her parents are still alive. However, it turns out that Marjane’s home remains unharmed; instead, the home... (full context)
The Dowry
Religion, Repression, and Modernity Theme Icon
Violence, Forgiveness, and Justice Theme Icon
Children, War, and Growing Up Theme Icon
The Personal vs. the Political Theme Icon
...the class that the Islamic Republic does not keep political prisoners. The teacher calls her parents, and while they are both proud of her personal strength, they are also angry and... (full context)
Religion, Repression, and Modernity Theme Icon
Violence, Forgiveness, and Justice Theme Icon
Children, War, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
Marjane’s parents explain the regime’s horrible treatment of arrested women. They explain that when a girl who... (full context)
Nationalism, Heroism, and Martyrdom Theme Icon
Children, War, and Growing Up Theme Icon
The Personal vs. the Political Theme Icon
...write up a report about Marjane’s bed behavior in school. However, despite this reprieve, Marjane’s parents tell her that they think it best if Marjane leaves Iran for a time. They... (full context)
Violence, Forgiveness, and Justice Theme Icon
Children, War, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...“how much they loved me” and “how important they were to me.” At night, her grandmother comes to spend the night with her. She gives her some advice: “If [people] hurt... (full context)
Children, War, and Growing Up Theme Icon
The next day, at the airport, Marjane’s parents reiterate to Marjane that she should not forget who she is or where she comes... (full context)