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Since Persepolis is a graphic novel, half of the meaning of the work comes through the pictures themselves. We need to think about each of these images in the same way that we might think about sentences: each has its own content, its own style, and its own thematic purpose. So in order to be responsible visual readers, we are going to use an alternative note-taking system for this novel. Instead of more traditional note-taking, you will each be asked to write short image analyses for each night’s reading until we finish book.
For these image analyses, your job will be to choose one frame and explore the way that Satrapi’s visual style helps to create meaning in the text. In each image analysis, you must write a short paragraph that helps to do that. Within each paragraph, you should answer all of the following questions:
First, WRITE DOWN THE PAGE AND LOCATION OF THE IMAGE YOU’RE EXAMINING at the top of the page.
a) What events or actions are being depicted in this frame?
b) What kind of frame is it? (Discuss size, shape, color, presence or absence of boarders, etc).
c) What are the key visual elements that Satrapi includes in the frame? What details do you notice on the third or fourth viewing that you didn’t notice before? (Think about things such as the size of something specific in the image, or the use of space).
d) Does Satrapi rely on abstract, fantasy or dream-like imagery? Why do you think she does this? Or, is she drawing something that the character actually saw vs. something the character imagined or thought?
e) Does the imagery in this frame relate to the imagery in any other frames that you’ve seen so far?
f) What is the IMPORTANCE of this image? In other words, what do we (the readers) understand about the character, the major theme, or the plot as a result of this image? BE SPECIFIC!
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