Violence is a common literary element present in both the books, Things Fall Apart and in Persepolis. The depiction of violence gives the story a different view and a negative image. In things fall apart, the depiction of violence is more as it defies the culture and the traditions of the Igbo people. They believe in evil spirit who has the power over all the people. This culture worships the value of killing and murdering. Acts of violence are often related or associated to religious figures, such as Evil Tree. When acts of violence are committed, the consequences are decided by religious figures. The gods are given control over these violent acts. To get a human head to the clan was considered a symbol of supremacy and power. Okonkwo was the first one to bring home a human head and this was this fifth head; and he was not n old man yet. On great occasions such as the funeral of a village celebrity he drank his palm-wine from his first human head.
This was one of the callous customs in the 1900’s during the colonial rule, where Achebe portrays violence as his major work in his book. Other form of violence was described during the Week in peace in things fall apart. Okonkwo was a violent and an impulsive man. Furthermore he uses violence to get obedience from his family. He was provoked to justifiable anger by his youngest wife, who went to plait her hair at her friend’s house and did not return early enough to cook the meal. He beat her very heavily and hard. Women were considered weak as compared to men. Okonkwo easily resorts to violence to solve all his problems. Okonkwo’s bitter conception of masculinity emphasizes heavily on violence. His ideas of man values are unrelated to human emotions, and therefore he cuts down a man to demonstrate his male dominance is irrelevant. The abundance of the violence is not only present in the Igbo culture, but also seen in clashes between the Igbo culture and the European (Christianity) culture, demonstrating the incompatibility of the two cultures.
Even very simple and basic interaction between the two cultures would lead to a major violent conflict. Also when Nwoye, Okonkwo’s son, tries to investigate the other culture, heavy violence arises then too. This helps us into knowing that the interactions between the two cultures are unacceptable to the oldest and the more traditional members of the clan. Violence is been also seen during the killing of Ikemefuna. There is a dramatic irony, because ikemefuna doesn’t know that okonkwo we going to kill who he called m his father and respected him more than his real father. Okonkwo was inwardly plea with at his son Nwoye’s development, and he knew it was due to Ikemefuna. He was taken by the clansmen as told by Agbala with okonkwo to the forest. One of the men behind him hit ikemefuna with the matchet very inhumanely and as ikemefuna ran towards okonkwo, in the daze of fear, okonkwo drew his matchet and cut him down.
The brutality and violence shows the reader that okonkwo would d anything for not to look weak. Also in Persepolis, his violence in this book acts as a token of the human cost of war and political authoritarianism violence is related to war during the Islamic revolution, overthrowing of the shah’s regime, the triumph of the Islamic revolution and the devastating effects f war with Iran and also the protests. Violence is shown to be very much a part of Iranian culture in Persepolis. The occurrence of violence that Satrapi felt as a child, I thought, was well shown in the comic style. The frames of violence seemed to be shocking interjections into the main plot of the story, as I’m sure they seemed to be to Marji as a child. Satrapi used the shocking outburst as a means of disapproving the violence.
Torture is shown in the scene splash where Ahmadi s being tortured because of his political felony. It is being divided into four parts, three of which show the torture Ahmadi suffers. The parts are his being urinated on, whipped, and burned with an iron on his back. The only narration is shown at the bottom, the only dialog is shown as large speech bubbles, which depict yelling “How do you like this?” and Confess! Where are the others?” Ahmadi is shown screaming with his eyes closed. This was Marji’s imagination. This illustration was used to emphasize the terror happening at that time and to make the readers express disapproval of the torture. Other types of violence, other than the tortures are when Siamak’s sister is being executed. Again here the scene is divided into three parts, but in these in each part it is framed and has borders. In this depiction, they have shown the executor faces and also the victim’s eyes are wide open even when she lies dead in the street.
This just shows the cold nature of the violence. Satrapi through this wants the reader’s o feel emotional and get angry. Also other example of violence is when the man was cut into pieces. The top picture says, “In the end he was cut to pieces,” that was it.thi use of the short and blunt sentence only with a picture of a cut up body. Here, there was no feeling or emotion coming from Marji. Also in the next picture, you can see Marji’s mother crying, but to me I think that Satrapi had to show at least a little emotion. This shows how violence is depicted so bluntly that has to show emotion to let the reader know that towards violence but on the whole the people seemed to be just “insensitive” or numb and use to the violence.
Other types of violence were portrayed through the protests during the overthrowing of the shah’s regime. And also the war between Iran and Iraq including the death of soldiers. Everywhere in the streets there were demonstrations for and against the veil, which was implemented then for women. The burning down of the red cinema and the attacks by the police onto the locals is also an example of violence in Persepolis. Due to this violence, there was this conflict between people. Therefore, in either which ways, violence played an important role in both the books. In Things fall apart and Persepolis, violence seemed to be a significant factor as both the novels, gives the reader a feel of the real story and events.
Courtney from Study Moose
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