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To Kill a Mockingbird and Persepolis

            Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, a traditional prose fiction novel, and Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis, a graphic novel, explore the conflict between personal and public values of their respective main characters and intolerant societies using similar techniques despite their different textual forms. Lee and Satrapi show their main characters Scout and Marji growing up in respectively 1930's racially-segregated Alabama and 1980's post-revolutionary Iran, negotiating the progressive ideologies of their families and the discriminatory values of their public societies. Lee and Satrapi highlight the intolerance through the use of first-person perspective, symbolism, and textual/graphical irony.
             Lee and Satrapi both use a child's first-person perspective in their texts to challenge commonly held values and beliefs of the intolerant public society. In To Kill a Mockingbird Scout witnesses racial intolerance towards African Americans as well as gender and social inequality in the broader society. Marji, the protagonist in Persepolis experiences religious intolerance and oppression, and as with Scout, encounters examples of gender and social inequality. In To Kill a Mockingbird, Dill cries about the unjust way African Americans are treated, "Let him get a little older and he won't get sick and cry Cry about the hell white people give coloured folks". The use of Dill's innocence challenges the racism that has been generally accepted in Maycomb society. Likewise in Persepolis, to highlight the clash between personal values and that of their religiously intolerant society, Satrapi has Marji question her father's views on social classes, "But is it her fault that she was born where she was born?" Satrapi also uses a childlike form of illustration throughout Persepolis to convey Marji's innocence. A contrast between the two texts is that Marji challenges her family's ideals, whereas in To Kill a Mockingbird Scout gradually adopts her father's doctrine throughout the novel.

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