Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Evidence and role of social classes in both “Persepolis” and “In Search of America”

Society is constantly being broken down into various social classes that tend to be based on economic status. In “In Search of America” by Nathan Asch and “Persepolis” by Marjane Satrapi, evidence of social classes can easily be found in both pieces, despite the difference in time periods and geographic locations.

Because “Persepolis” is set in Iran during the late 1900’s, in the midst of the Islamic Revolution, social classes are a vital part of the culture and political standing of the country. The story is told through the eyes of a rather intelligent young girl, Marji, who does not fully understand the emphasis placed on one’s standing in society. This is made clear when her family’s maid cannot be with the man she loves due to his superior reputation. A confused Marji asks her father for an explanation to which he simply states that, “in this country you must stay within your own social class” (Satrapi 37). Not only does this confuse the young girl about the relationship she should have with her maid, but also about her father’s political opinions.

In “Persepolis”, the social classes are clearly stated and accepted due to the culture of the country and the revolutionary environment, which was slowing being exposed to Communist ideas. However, similar divisions of society are present in “In Search of America” as well. They are not as apparent as the above mentioned, for Asch’s piece is set in the United States during the 1930’s, but they are most definitely present.

When Asch’s narrator ventures to various poverty-stricken areas, mainly places that employ great numbers of people at once, he hopes to find the truth about America’s working class. While he does uncover the struggles that face millions of people daily, he also finds how those working view their employers. One angry lumberjack went as far to say that if “the purchasing agent ever comes to camp 2, [he’ll] cut him into pieces and make him over again” (Asch 301). This depicts the angst and hatred felt by the workers towards those in higher standing.

Through the work of Satrapi and Asch, it is evident that social classes play major roles in society and are present in various time periods regardless of location and politics. Although the clear distinction and acceptance of superior standings had a much stronger existence in revolutionary Iran, they were still very much present within America as well.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.