Graphic novel ‘Persepolis’ chosen for TCU common reading

For the first time at TCU, a graphic novel has been chosen for the summer common reading assignment

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"Persepolis," by Marjane Satrapi, is an autobiographical graphic novel illustrating the author’s experiences growing up in Iran during the Islamic revolution. (Screenshot by Matthew Israel.)

"Persepolis," by Marjane Satrapi, is an autobiographical graphic novel illustrating the author’s experiences growing up in Iran during the Islamic revolution. (Screenshot by Matthew Israel.)

The Common Reading steering committee has chosen "Persepolis," a graphic novel, as the summer reading assignment for incoming first-year students.

This is the first time a graphic novel has been chosen as the Common Reading at TCU.

“A graphic novel is not a ‘comic book,’” said Dr. Sage Elwell, Assistant Professor of Religion, Art, and Culture. “Today’s graphic novels demonstrate serious artistic quality, address complicated issues, and they wed image to literature to create a new and compelling genre.”

"Persepolis" was chosen to compliment the Quality Enhancement Program, "Discovering Global Citizenship."

“''Persepolis' offers an insider’s account of events that unfolded in Iran in the late 20th century,” said Elwell. “Events that continue to have a global impact today.”

Written by Marjane Satrapi, the graphic novel examines the history of Iran from its first occupation by Europeans to the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Mitra Tafarroji, the mother of current TCU student Nika Tafarroji, grew up in Iran before moving to the United States in 1988. As a teenager, she witnessed the revolution unfold firsthand.

“At first it wasn’t that bad,” said Tafarroji, “but after a couple of years we started having the war and things were getting worse and worse.”

“There was no freedom, absolutely none,” said Tafarroji.

One of the themes the novel is the abandonment of faith.

“When [Americans] are born, they have the freedom of religion,” said Tafarroji. “When we were born, we were born to a Muslim family, so we would be Muslim, whether we practice or don’t practice.”

Satrapi will be visiting TCU in November to give a public talk.

“Students should not miss out on this opportunity to see a world-renowned artist, author, and director,” said Dr. Sage Elwell.

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