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Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis is just one enlightening example among many others which proves the idea that literatures helps people to overcome general differences, media stereotypes, prejudices, and develop interest in empathizing with others. Persepolis is an autobiographical novel by Satrapi which introduces people from foreign cultures to the experience of being raised in a country like Iran. Research also confirms that Persepolis is a ground-breaking novel which instead of dwelling on fictitious accounts narrates real life childhood experiences (Schroeder 6).
An important point to be realized here is that people unacquainted with authentic sources of information like Persepolis end up being unable to sympathize and care for others. It is because lack of credible information easily causes them to believe in flawed and misguiding concepts popularized by the biased media. Orientalism is an important concept worth mentioning here because it explains how the western media adopting a highly biased approach portrays the Middle Eastern people as naïve, backward, and even dangerous. Satrapi herself comments on this subject in her book expressing that the great Iranian civilization has always been discussed by media since the 1979 Islamic revolution “in connection with fundamentalism, fanaticism, and terrorism” (Satrapi cited in Schroeder 14). In times when media acts to deliver mostly stereotyped messages about certain matters, developing a close relationship with authentic literary sources is critically important. This is because such a relationship in addition to enlightening the mind of a person also helps him/her to understand myriad differences between him/her and others which is very important to be able to demonstrate empathy.
For example, Satrapi’s account of growing up in Iran helps to convince people around the globe who sit outside the highly closeted social environment of Iran that Iranians
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