Don’t you think I look like Che Guvara?
Maybe I’ll be even better as Fidel Castro! (16)
Marjane looks at the world with a child’s logic: She is extremely trusting but, almost paradoxically, easily navigates the hypocrisy of Religious radicalism and Classism. In the quick outline of the cultural revolution, she shows a disgruntled understanding of the powers that be when she states “We found ourselves veiled and separated from our friends and that was it.” (4) and in an even more childishly perceptive moment, she talks about wanting her maid to sit at the dinner table with them and how she is in love with their neighbor who immediately gives her up when he learns that she is, in fact, a servant and not Marjane’s sister. Her father, the communist and the man responsible for the breakup gets his own (probably knowing) hypocrisy shoved in his face when his daughter cries “Dad are you for or against social classes”. Again, on page 53, Marji’s mom cries “the torturers should be massacred!” (53) after previously telling her not to put nails into a boy for what his father had done (killing a million people) twenty pages earlier.
While being able to navigate some forms of idealism while ignoring nuance with a beautifully simple worldview, Marjane lets her innocence play to her detriment. The way she uses her uncle who is a “hero” to make herself equal with others children who almost boast about what their relatives have gone through in prison is exactly what one would expect from a young child. “There are lots of heroes in my family. My grandpa was in prison, my uncle Anoosh too:”(61)
(thought bubble of Marji’s companion) “too much” (61)
The reason for her lack of understanding is due to her upbringing in a household of self-professed morally absolute ideologues. To Marji, on her journey of personal growth that moves in tandem with the revolutions of her country, the absolutism breaks down when it clashes with the morally ambiguous world. She herself believes the media and what she is told as an absolute and often waffles wildly. On page 46 Marji apologizes to the young man who she tried to stick nails in who, in turn, tells her that his father did a service to the country of Iran because “He(the father) killed communists, and communists are evil!” (46). Marji tells her mom this, in turn, and the mother is shocked and appalled. In another instance, on page 62, her father loses his cool when his daughter repeats a lie that she heard on television.
Due to the perceived philosophy of her parents, she craves moral absolutism but can never quite achieve it. She looks for it in god and the government, which, ironically, cause moral ambiguity in this story more than anything else (i.e. the revolutionaries being persecuted when the cultural “revolution” takes). Finally, on a much greater scale, her parents and Anoosh, staunch communists, have rubbed off on Marji in such a way that she dresses like Che Guvara and Fidel Castro and idolize stahlin (especially as Anoosh lived in russia and studied communism there). At least two of the three previously mentioned leaders have well documented genocidal tendencies. A communist revolution with the end goal of peace is being led by people who refuse to acknowledge the fact that their idols are just as despotic as the shah was; Marji is much too young to tell the difference or realize that when she dresses up as Che Guvara and praises Stahlin, she is supporting a despotism just as evil as the shah’s.