Identity of Teenagers

In the book Marji is growing up in a time of war. Soon enough she became a teenager and wanted to just be a teenager without having to be trapped and told what to do. Also, in the book all the things Marji wants such as posters, shoes and clothes that she can’t find where she lives. In order to get them her parents have to find them out of the country. How would you feel if you didn’t have access to items in your everyday life, like the clothes you like or the shoes on your feet?



In this picture it shows how you can get in so much trouble by just wearing a jacket or a pair of sneakers in Iran at this time. Although the rules on clothing are strict and people are not allowed to wear what Marji is wearing, that does not stop the desire of wanting to wear them. Teens just want to be teens and when you take away something as little as wearing a jacket it makes is hard to define who they are.

Here are some questions to explore:

How would you you feel is your new shoes got you in trouble?

Would you take the risk of expressing yourself is public or maybe even getting caught?

If a privilege  was taken away from you would you desire it even more?


After reading about Marji’s experience during the war, do you still take your everyday opportunities for granted?

Respond to the video.  How does is relate to Marji and what she is going through?


By: Isabella Viggiano and Susan Arredondo


25 thoughts on “Identity of Teenagers

  1. Teenagers just want to be able to express themselves and explore their boundaries in order to find who they truly are. Marji’s family had to go through extra measures for her to be able to express herself, and now she is being told that she is not allowed to do that. Although Marji was aware of the strict dress code for women, she took a risk in order to achieve the level of freedom she believes she deserves. Being a teenager is all about taking risks and figuring out for yourself what is right and what is wrong. This is also the time in adolescence when people are most likely to express their opinions and advocate for what they believe is just, when they are not fully aware of the consequences of such actions. In Warriors Don’t Cry, Melba was a similar age to Marji when she started attending Central High School. She was fighting for integration, and until she began to attend the school, she did not realize that it would cause so much turmoil, in the way that Marji didn’t realize that she would be reprimanded because of her clothes.


    • areyes6290 says:

      Melba was a lot like Marji in the aspect of how the two both found different ways to express themselves through the story and really represent who they were. They were both two young girls striving for success in times of trial. They were both very rebellious just as teens in general, all over the world tend to be. They struggled to find ways to depict their problems but only caused conflict. Both girls knew their end goals but they were stuck on how to get there appropriately under their circumstances.


      • kdarcyoliveira says:

        I agree, because teenagers will always try to find away to express them selves and rebel in some way. We all go through conflicts and turbulence but we always find a way through it, although sometimes it might come with consequences. Knowing how to get through obstacles the right way does make a huge difference. I know that I sometimes struggle to do what people tell me to do. It’s not that I have a problem with authority but sometimes giving up control is hard, which causes teens to rebel.


    • tshapiro101 says:

      I disagree that teenagers are supposed to explore and test boundaries. Our entire lives we test boundaries. People are under this weird impression that they think just because someone is in between the ages of 13-19 they can break rules without consequence. Unfortunately for Marji, she was living somewhere where at the time going out dressed how she wanted was endangering herself and her family. Rules need to be enforced even more on teenagers because otherwise as adults they won’t learn to do what is right.


      • alinton2 says:

        I wouldn’t call it “testing the boundaries” as teenagers between the age of 13-19 we are trying to find ourselves and discover who we are and what we want to be in life. With Marji trying to discover who she is and express herself she can’t do that in Iran which is extremely hard for a teenager especially a girl, imagine falling in love with a guy but can’t be with him because of social status? And as teenagers our emotions are so raw and fresh it’s hard to deal with. Imagine being told that what you want to wear is not fit for the society you live in because they “said so”. Wouldn’t you want to prove them worng and most importantly express your individuality?


  2. ramosdanny says:

    I feel that people are all different, and you cant stop one from expressing himself. So when iran took away the freedom of being different, I thought that it was unfair. Marji got in trouble for wearing clothes that she liked, If i got in trouble for something like that i would just be like all the other people in uniform. People need to express themselves to be noticed. If everyone was the same, The world would be such a boring place! I dont think its right to take away freedom of expression like iran did in the book. I completely disagree with their decision of everyone having to wear the same stuff, with out being able to do stuff differently.


    • iviggiano4 says:

      I agree with Danny my clothes and my room and how I like things symbolizes who I am as a person and how people identify me from others. If that freedom was taken away from me like it was for Marji would you express yourself? Like Danny said the world would be such a boring place! Without identity everyone would be the same.


  3. marinaluddy says:

    If I were to get the privilege of wearing what I wanted to wear, taken away, I would be over the top furious. All that I love and the only thing that doesn’t make me insecure as much is having the ability to express myself through clothes. It’s how I show this is who I am, and how I like to present myself. All my life I have wanted to become a fashion designer and now I’m looking at fashion schools. I couldn’t imagine having my choice of style taken away from me. Even if I were to be told a thousand times I wasn’t supposed to dress a certain away, I’d rebel. I would do anything to let them know that it’s not right. But about the other question mentioned in the article, “If a privilege was taken away from you would you desire it even more?” I don’t really understand what this is asking. Can someone help to explain?


  4. areyes6290 says:

    As teens, most people strive to be expressive. Find their one thing that can motivate them, represent them. This applies for children all over the world, in whatever condition they may be in. Times of war, depression, disaster, it doesn’t change who we are, who we are meant to be. In the book, Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi, the main character Marji goes through this same struggle. She wants to be a teen, embrace who she is, even in the time of war that her country is stuck in. She finds small ways to express herself such as through hair style and clothing. She is just one of the many kids that get trapped in the political trials/ restrictions of their countries.


    • kbailey58 says:

      I agree with what you’re saying, and it is rough for her when someone is always there watching you. It reminds me of Soul Surfer when the little girl saw Bethany and stared at her and then said to her mom ‘what’s wrong with her’ so even though bethany got praise for what happened they both were still looked at differently


  5. kbailey58 says:

    I feel if i couldn’t wear a simple pair of sneakers like i wear today to school on a daily basis withiut going out and being shamed for it. I would feel bad at first but because i don’t like to be like everyone i just need one thing to make me different and i believe that was what marji was doing in this panel and the fact they dragged her away and scolded her for wearing what she wants. And it sucks because during this time it was hard to feel special and comfertable when someone when people are always staring and pointing the finger at one person for not looking the same. This problem still happens today but it isn’t as extreme as when Marji was living during war times.


    • anasantiz says:

      I agree with you about how you would like to express yourself. I believe that people should be able to express their individuality. It’s not right that some people aren’t aloud to be the person they are. Getting in trouble for wearing a simple pair of sneakers shouldn’t say anything bad about someone, if they like them, they should wear them.


  6. tshapiro101 says:

    I personally don’t understand why someone such as Marji would risk their freedom and possibly their life just to wear a jacket and sneakers in public. Obviously, even if the rules in place are ridiculous the rules are there to be followed and Marji didn’t have the place to go against that. The clothes that people where doesn’t matter because your clothes are not you. YOU are you. What ever you decide to decorate yourself with doesn’t change who you are. At my middle school we had a dress code, but it wasn’t very strict. Then, for eighth grade, a uniform was imposed. Some of my friends were convinced it was the end of the world. I reassured them by telling them that even if we all wore the same on our bodies nothing could change us and uniform us on the inside. No two people are the same, nor will they ever be (Unless someone is cloned at some point, but who knows?). The video about how the media made this guy become someone he’s not is so true not only relating to Persepolis, but relating to our generation today. There is so much pressure to be “cool” and “in style” we forget and loose our individuality.


    • nlam1 says:

      I do agree when you say that clothes shouldn’t define who you really are, but I believe teenagers should be able to express their own style and express themselves. Its like a way of finding yourself and being unique. Its not always about being “cool” or “in style” but just having a little freedom and being different and standing out. I don’t like the rule of uniforms in schools because I wouldn’t like wearing the same thing as someone else everyday. It would get boring wearing the same thing and everyone looking the same. There should be a diversity because everyone is different. I think Marji just wants a little freedom and not look the same as everyone else.


      • acohen01 says:

        I agree that teens shouldn’t be defined by clothes or how rich or poor you are, but on their character and how respected they are by other people


  7. nlam1 says:

    People express their own style and represents themselves through their clothes. If I couldn’t wear something I wanted to, it would feel like I don’t have my own identity. I wouldn’t like looking like everyone else. In “Persepolis” Marji wanted to wear her new jackets and shoes because she wanted to look different, not be traditional and wanted to feel a little freedom. But in her country that’s not allowed, which means she can’t express herself. Since her country was going through war I understand that she isn’t allow to wear certain things because things as the veil are part of their culture and sometimes you have no choice. In many countries today many people still wear things such as a veil and people dress alike and personally I wouldn’t be able to do that. I just wouldn’t be able to look like everyone else, no one would be able to stand out from the crowd, or be unique.


    • lcaballerogabriella says:

      I agree to this if I wasn’t allowed to have my own way, it would make me want to do it anyway. But maybe we follow the trends thinking we are supposed to. But we have a say in what we want to wear and what we choose is just the way we are. No one should tell you what and what not to wear. If someone else doesn’t like it. Well who cares what they think? Sure wearing something because it’s your religion isn’t a bad thing but maybe we should respect that as well. But no one should judge you if you wear it or not. It’s just the person’s decision whether they follow through or not. Just don’t let anyone tell you how they feel you should dress. In the video our society marks whats “Cool” and in “style” but just because it’s the trend doesn’t mean we have to do it too. And no one has the right to judge you because of the way you want to express yourself.


  8. anasantiz says:

    As a teenager, I always strive to be myself and do the best I can. Teenagers don’t like to be put down, if we want to do something, we do it. Part of being a teenager is being a little rebellious. I myself love getting a pair of new shoes, and of course I would want to wear them. If somebody told me that I couldn’t wear them I would be mad because I finally got something I wanted just so I couldn’t use it. No matter the rules, somebody is bound to break them. I think I would take the risk and break a few rules in order to feel like myself and feel good about myself, I don’t think that it should be bad to be the person you are, nothing should stop you. If a privledge was taken from me I feel like people would desire it more because it would be harder to obtain. You wouldn’t have the freedom you used to.


    • kbailey58 says:

      I agree with your comment about hownyou would want to show off the new shoes because when i get something new i always want to wear it like my mon has to ask me to change sometimes so i don’t wear my new sneakers, or shirt again. I also feel like when a privilege like being able to wear what you want is amazing because that means learning new stules and showing off sometimes, and if it was taken feom me too i would go insane and break the rules if it means me being happy.


  9. caddison1 says:

    I think all teenagers want to express them selfs. Some people will go to greater lengths to show how they feel or show there freedom such as wearing new shoes like in the book and taking risks knowing they may get cought. Others will not be as forward with there choice but if you don’t take a strong stance you won’t be able to show your feelings. I would want to take the risk and show how it felt about everything that was happening.


  10. alinton2 says:

    As teenagers especially, they want to express themselves even more since we are finding who we are as people and exploring different things. Clothes is a major example of how we express that. For Marji and the others it must be extremely hard to not be able to wear the clothes you want and have fear of getting arrested or hurt for trying to express who you really are. If you can’t express who you really are, than you are not truly letting others inside because they don’t know the real you. If I couldn’t wear my new shoes or clothes I would be extremely frustrated but I don’t think I’d go against the public if I belonged to a community like Marji’s. Self expression is important, but without actual life, self expression wouldn’t take place so I would obey rules sadly. Not being able to do what other kids in other countries are doing would make me desire to do it more, like looking at the cookie jar knowing you can’t have one until after dinner, but that tiny voice inside you is telling you that if you had it now it would be better so you just go ahead and do it. I feel like the temptation would over rule my fear and I’d rebel and do what I want, just to say I did it.


  11. lmartin7089 says:

    Marji’s situation, to me, is understandable. Going to a private school with a uniform, you could only wear certain things. These rules too were strictly enforced, try and wear something outside rules and be punished with a detention. This is kind of like what Marji is living with except, for her, the rule was nation wide and had much harsher punishments including loss of freedom of life. I can understand what Marji is feeling only wanting the newest styles be barely ever being able to wear them.


  12. rgranillo1 says:

    If my new shoes got me in trouble i would feel shocked. I would take the risk of expressing myself because i feel like their stripping another piece of my freedom from me. I would also do it to show them how ridiculous it is for someone to get in trouble for wearing certain pieces of clothing in public. If a privilege was taken from me i would desire it more because it’s as if they robbed me. If you were robbed wouldn’t you want back what they took from you because i would. I would because it’s mine and that’s how i think Marji feels when her freedom is taken away little by little even to the point of what she wears.


  13. acohen01 says:

    I think it is very important for teenagers to express themselves and should not have restrictions on what they where. This is one of the biggest personal freedom that someone can have. Clothes are a big way of expressing ones self because it is what other people see visually. What you wear should be an extension of yourself.


  14. krupascott says:

    I think that teenagers should be able to express themselves, not only with clothing, but through music and art. If my new shoes got me in trouble I would feel like I can’t express myself. Which in Marji’s case is true. If I couldn’t express myself without the risk of getting in trouble I would never do that. Even though it would be miserable I know I wouldn’t chance it in public. I do think if a privilege is taken you do want it more. An example would be eating out to restaurants every night and then having frozen dinners every night. Since you are used to the better option you have a small taste for it that you miss.


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