First Day

Lesson Plan Title: Veil Symbol in Persepolis


Students discuss the veil as a symbol in Marjane Satrapi’s

Persepolis (1.1.10C, 1.3.10C)

Students will use effective communication skills to craft a

group written response analyzing the ways in which systems of

oppression are created (1.6.10A)

Required Materials: White Board, Persepolis, Laptops



Housekeeping, Have students look through chapter 1 of Persepolis (5 min)

Introduce the idea of the veil as a symbol of Marjane’s oppression and briefly discuss (10 min)

As a class, create a web on the board of ways in which Marjane is oppressed. (10 min)

Have students break into small groups (of 3 or 4) and discuss, in detail, how these oppressions are imposed on Marjane. Students will post a short summary of their group discussion on scoodle. (Remainder of class)

Prompt: Consider the list of struggles that Marjane has dealt with throughout the first half of Persepolis. Explore the source of these struggles. Explain what individuals or institutions have contributed to them and why? How have they exerted an influence on Marjane? Infer the reasons for these individuals and institutions behaving the way that they do. What are they motivated by? Provide a one-paragraph response.

Assessment: Students will be assessed based on their participation in discussion both as a class and as a group, and based on their Scoodle responses.

    These two lessons focused on the memoir Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. Because the book was so short we spent only two days working with it. Nevertheless, the students demonstrated some very profound reflections during the class activities.

Second Day

Lesson Plan Title: Veil as Symbol in Persepolis (2nd Half)


Students will generalize the concept of the “veil” and apply it to their own contexts, (1.3.10B), read “A New Look in Baghdad,” (1.1.10.D) identify the major ideas (1.1.10.E) (1.2.10.D), and compare the discussion of the veil in the article to its use as a symbol in Persepolis. (1.6.10.A)


Required Materials:

The Ministers Black Veil, Laptops, “A New Look in Baghdad,” Persepolis



Recap the end of the book and recall the discussion from Friday (5 min.)

Show excerpt from Hawthorne’s The Ministers Black Veil. Discuss the “veils” that exist in our own lives. Have students individually respond to the group scoodle posts with explanations of the “veils” that they are forced to wear. (20 min)

Distribute copies of “A New Look in Baghdad” and have students read silently (5-10 min.)

In a group discussion, identify the major ideas, and compare the discussion of the veil in the article to its use as a symbol in Persepolis. (remainder of class)


Students will be assessed based on their participation in discussions and based upon their Scoodle responses.

Discussion Forum

        Samples of Student Work: Below are student explanations of specific ways in which the protagonist, Marjane, is oppressed. Other students responded to these posts, either elaborating on them or providing a different perspective.

    Marjane struggles with her beliefs about the government. She often has a hard time differentiating between the people who support the Shah, and the people who are against the Shah. She sees people in the streets protesting, and acting for their country; this she admires greatly. Her parents are the greatest influences on her at the time, and they are both protesting against the Shah and government daily making Marjane believe that the government is evil. She gets mixed emotions on the topic though because of the restrictions of what they can learn in school. Initially, they are taught that god chose the Shah, and he is an ideal ruler because that was the law. Later, when the Shah is forced to leave the country, the students are forced to remove his picture from all their textbooks. All this contradiction can be very confusing to a young mind. Another example of major contradiction in Marjane’s life is her belief in god and his affect on the real world. When she learned in school that god chose the Shah, she assumed that he was the ideal person for the job. Her parents later informed her that god did not choose the Shah and she can’t listen to everything they tell her in school. This makes no sense because people go to school in order to learn, and if your school is giving you false information you’re bound to be confused.


    I think that this topic is really sad, because it is kind of making a restriction on who you can, and can't love. This situation reminds me of Romeo and Juliet, because they had to keep their love a secret. In Romeo and Juliet their families were the reason why they weren't allowed to be together, but this is a very similar thing. I don't think that in Mehri's case it is fair because you should be allowed to be with whom ever you fall in love with.

        The social classes are a main part of Marjane's life. When Marjane's maid, Mehri, fell in love with the boy next door, everything was fine because neither of them knew the other person's social class. Marjane wrote letters to Mehri's friend, but when her father found out, he was extremely angry and told the boy that Mehri was actually his maid. "...I know that Mehri pretends she is my daughter. In reality, she is my maid." When asked if he wants to continue seeing her, he responds, "Ehh...” Seeing the change in his feelings for her just because she was a maid and in a lower social class was astonishing. Having money and a good job was crucial in society. But, Marjane seemed able to overlook the social classes, because she yelled at her dad and didn't seem to believe in social classes, since it wasn't Mehri's fault she was in a lower class. Overall, social classes veiled Marjane's life and distorted her view of people in lower or higher classes.


    I feel like the struggle between listening to your parents and listening to what you're taught at school always confuses us at one point or another in our lives. The contradictions between school and home can greatly confuse young ones minds. Especially when it comes to such topics as the government and religion. With everyone having different political and social views when they all calibrate at school this leads to debate and discussion. I believe the schooling system does a good job a teaching you many different types of governments and religions so we can have open minds now a days. Unlike back in the 20th century when all these revolutions were happening and new ideals were usually immediately shut down or oppose by the old regime.


    I've been reading Jared Diamond's book "The Third Chimpanzee", which discusses the evolution of human beings. One point he makes is about how easily children believe what they are told. It's an evolutionary necessity for children to listen to their parents, because most of what they hear is important for survival. They also need to be able to listen to other figures in higher positions, like an elder in a hunter-gatherer society. However, when children are told different views and beliefs and not just facts, they can't tell them apart from facts, and don't have any actual ideas of their own until they are old enough to really understand. This seems to be the problem that Marjane has with her beliefs about the government.