Reader Response: Me Talk Pretty One DayJuly 14, 2010
Mixed Tape Memoir: Search For TruthJuly 21, 2010
Assignment: Reader Response “Persepolis”
I enjoyed reading Persepolis to the point that I found myself wondering what might have happened later on in life to the little girl. The stark contrast of the black and white illustrations do a very nice job at communicating the expressions, actions and emotions of the story’s characters. This contrast also works well to convey the emotional setting of the room itself. For example, the use of dark empty space above a child resting her head with her arms folded on a table. White wind like wavy lines and vague ghostlike representations of her father racing all in the same direction in the empty space above her. This illustration gives a strong sense of a child sitting waiting impatiently with a whirlwind of thoughts racing through their mind.
I have children myself, and there is hardly a thing I could think of in this world as precious as a child’s innocence. I believe the author’s decision to tell this story through the eyes of a child allows her to more accurately communicate her perception of the events as they unfolded at the time. A good example of this would be when the young girl interrupts her grandmother to declare that she is hungry. Instead of perceiving this as rude or ignorant as it might seem had it come from an adult perspective, we are able to see it for what it is, the distracted thoughts of an innocent child. Children often have little interest in the things that they don’t perceive as affecting their own lives. It is not until later on in the story that the young girl is forced to realize the reality of their political circumstances when her father, a photographer, fails to come home in time for dinner. As the hours pass, she sits and thinks of the last time her father was caught taking photographs which was illegal for him to do, and how he was nearly taken to jail but had escaped at the last possible moment. She can’t help but think the worst as children will often do under these circumstances. Later when her father returns home and begins to explain the events that led to his delay, the young girl realizes that she fails to understand the context of those events. Perhaps one of the more endearing aspects of this story is the fact that the reader gets to witness this emotional growth in the young girl when she sets out to educate herself in an effort to better understand the world around her. Unlike my experience with David Sedaris’s “Me Talk Pretty One Day”, I found myself drawn into this memoir. I also found myself able to identify with the young girl’s quest for knowledge in an effort to overcome ignorance rather than succumb to it.
I suppose if I were to tell my own story through a graphic novel, I might choose a similar technique although I’d probably opt to interrupt the story from time to time with a narrative from an older, perhaps wiser perspective. Similar to the way the movie “Stand By Me” is told with the author giving his perspective both as a child and as an adult. In terms of illustration, I would probably opt for something urban, perhaps graffiti style, with some anime influence. This meshes well with my urban upbringing in New York. Although black and white could be used quite effectively to represent the concrete jungle that is the landscape of New York, I fear it would fail to capture the life of the city itself and would use color in my illustrations for that reason. For several years now, I have dreamed of writing a novel detailing the events of my life. Perhaps a graphic novel is a format well suited to my lifestyle and artistic nature.