Challenging Perceptions: Persepolis Beyond the American Lens

byAmanda Targgart
"That is why I wanted people in other countries to read Persepolis, to see that I grew up just as other children do."- -Marjane Satrapi 1

For this unit, students will examine the ways their eyes see other cultures, in particular, Middle Eastern culture. The graphic-novel-memoir Persepolis will be the central text. This unit will encourage students to question their own perceptions and will also allow them to recognize the ways in which different countries and cultures are seen from different points of view. Many of my students are limited in their exposure to other cultures. Many of them rarely leave the city of Chicago. Most of their knowledge of about other countries and cultures comes from the Internet, books, and television; the messages they receive through these mediums, however, are often not critically analyzed in the classroom. In order to analyze cultures outside the United States, students must first reflect on their own values, reflect on how those values were formed, and then question them. The goal for this unit is for students to discover a wider global lens by learning about the Middle East and analyzing their own perceptions. This goal will be achieved through reading the story Persepolis.

(Developed for English I, grade 9; recommended for High School English Class, grades 9-10)

Comments (1)

    Jeanne Patrice Callahan (Thomas Jefferson High School, Richmond, Va)
    Subject taught: English, Grade: 9
    Sharing Documents
    Hi Amanda,

    I am also a YNI fellow and I am looking forward to teaching Persepolis during this 4th nine weeks. I have now read through your unit and am using it as a guide for my first time teaching this graphic novel. If possible, I am wondering if you could share any of your files from the unit with me. I recently started a second job and anything to help save some time is appreciated. My e-mail is

    I can\'t wait to start teaching Persepolis and appreciate your thoughtful approach to the story. Thank you any input and assistance.



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