Lens #5: Themes


The idea of “exile” is an “archetypal” or universal theme across time and cultures.

Exile, as the Arabic word implies, refers to a punishment by banishment, “just like the fate of Oedipus, who in the end had to join the world of punishable criminals, condemned to be expelled so that cities and communities might purify themselves from their likes.” Exile today can be rooted in colonial, economic, cultural, religious, political and even environmental migrations across the globe. It is the experience of refugees and immigrants. Exile is also not always “coercive” in its experience. Exile is sometimes used to refer to a temporary condition. Recently, even one‘s choice to leave home on military assignments and for commercial reasons may be counted as a form of exile.

Literary critic Edward Said in his text Out of Place. A Memoir conceives of exile as something forceful to think about and to imagine but “terrible to experience”. The so called “experience of exile” constitutes an “unhealable rift,” writes Said, “between a human body and a native place, between the self and its true home.”

At the same time, paradoxically, exile can bring both achievement and loss. (adapted from Source)

Reflect on the immigrant or newcomer or “other” experiences of exile, as achievement and loss, in any of its forms or expressions in Persepolis. How do we belong? What makes us belong? What prevents us from belonging?

Record your response(s) on your ML Exploration Journal shared on Google Classroom.


Check out other possible themes for Persepolis via the LitCharts app related to theme topics such as  religion, nationalism, forgiveness, justice, truth, forgiveness, war, growing up, gender and more.

In an assigned small group, justify 3-5 themes topics in Persepolis and develop 1-2 into a full theme statements. Identify  1-2 pieces of evidence from the text that support your statement(s). Demonstrate how the evidence shows the themes. Need ideas?Explore Persepolis themes in LitCharts. Present your theme(s) to the class.


Exile Runa_Islam,_Exile,_1997

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