VCE Essay prompts: Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi

Looking for practice essay prompts for Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi? Here are some practice prompts to help you prepare for the text response essay!

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Religion / Modernity / Violence / Justice 

  • Satrapi depicts a world in which people strive for happiness, but despair is never far away. Do you agree? 
  • Although oppression is everywhere in Persepolis, there is also a persistent air of freedom and rebellion. Discuss. 
  • It is through the reach of religion that the revolution could exert power and influence over the people. Do you agree?
  • It is clear in Persepolis that one cannot be Iranian and devoutly religious. Do you agree? 
  • How does Persepolis explore what it means to live in fear of persecution and oppression? 
  • ‘Bad people are dangerous but forgiving them is too.’ What role does forgiveness play in Persepolis?

Innocence / Growing up 

  • How do the images help to convey the challenges of growing up in this society? 
  • ‘Every situation has an opportunity for laughs.’ The humour in Persepolis comes from the dissonance between Marjane’s innocence and Satrapi’s maturity. Do you agree? 
  • Marjane is conflicted in more than one way. Discuss. 
  • Persepolis‘ central story is to reconcile her identity as herself and as an Iranian. Do you agree?
  • Marjane’s growth from a child to a young woman is accelerated by the revolution. Do you agree? 
  • ‘Always keep your dignity and be true to yourself.’ To what extent does Marjane follow her grandmother’s advice? 
  • How do Marjane’s parents seek to protect her from the realities of the revolution? 
  • How do Marjane’s innocence reveal the truths of her world? 
  • Discuss the importance of hopes and dreams in Persepolis


  • The women of Persepolis suffer more extensively and traumatically than the men, yet they transcend their pain more successfully. Do you agree? 
  • In identifying people only through their gender, the revolution denies everybody their true sense of identity. Discuss. 
  • Throughout the graphic novel, Persepolis criticises the revolution for its hypermasculinity. Do you agree? 

Personal / Political / Religion

  • The revolution forced people to make their personal lives into a political stance. Discuss. 

Narrative structure 

  • Satrapi is simultaneously storytelling and commenting via the conventions of the graphic novel. Discuss.¬†
  • Satrapi’s portrayal of Islam is biased and one-sided, but the autobiographical nature of Persepolis justifies this. Do you agree?

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