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The Veil: Persepolis

Everything was gray. No color, no hue. Everything was completely uniform. I sat on the benches looking like a fool. Or at least I though I was; my classmates were not at all happy, as though they shared my own personal feelings. Some were frowning; others closed their eyes, exasperated. We could not contain our shame, as our black veils covered most of our heads as though trying to undermine our own thoughts, to repress some sort of feeling in ourselves. Maybe that’s why some of them were unhappy. A revolution happened some time ago. Probably a year. I thought it was a silly thing.

I played with my toys and my dolls and did not mind the news. My parents sat intently on their chairs that day, their faces indiscernible, their expressions, stony. I did not know why, I was oblivious to everything all except for my wonderful toys. I did not like to go to school but what happened redoubled my reluctance to go. The news, the one thing that concerned me that day but I chose to remain ignorant, had reported that it was obligatory to drape a thick black veil over young women’s heads. Most of the haughty, older women looked like malevolent clothes as the blackness of cloth surrounded their whole body.

Their eyes were the only ones alive in their physique; I used to look at their eyes intently as though some wonderful light show. Some were wonderful shades of brown, other were of deepest black. All of their eyes however, showed the same thing – all of their repressions were hidden behind a look of kindness. One day in school, I saw most of my classmates sitting on a bench. I made to accompany them but a haughty crow, I recognized as one of my teachers (she had magnificent hazel eyes) violently thrust a black veil, exactly the same thing she was wearing. I accepted her offer but I did not put it on.

It was already hot, the sun blazing above us, causing us to sweat profusely. I approached my friends trying not to laugh and we sat down looking at our other classmates play around with their own veils; some draped it over their heads, chasing others and making funny noises, others were tying it to their friends, and mimicking a horse, while some just blatantly did not year it, saying that it was already too hot. We laughed at them and indeed made fun at it for a couple of times. But it was after the revolution. We were a French school and boys were in the same room as us.

We used to have a lot of fun playing in-between school hours and of course, after classes. We had jet-black uniforms, much like the veils they made us girls they used to wear. We were happy…probably. One day, a man came striding into our classroom. He was a heavy man with a large, deep-set eyes which gave him a fierce look. He was slightly bald but all of his hair seemed to grow on his chin. He had an extremely bushy beard that we immediately wondered were he kept his mouth. My friends and I laughed at this but he gave such a dangerous look that we desisted. “All bilingual schools must be closed down…It is a sign of capitalism.

” We heard him say, but we were not really paying attention. I did not even know what ‘capitalism’ meant. Some of my teachers were standing in the front. Others stood in stony silence while some of them said, “What wisdom! ” I wanted to believe her, because my teacher said it with such volume in her voice. But I was too preoccupied whispering with my friend. Soon after, we were sent back to our classrooms and nothing out of the ordinary happened. But the next day, I was hoping to borrow some pencils from my friend. But he was going into another room with a number of his classmates and some from other sections.

We were also placed on a separate room but I was happy with my friends that I did not complain. When one my new classmates asked why the boys were in another room, she said “Don’t ask questions. ” I went home and saw my father watching the TV. There was another revolution on the TV. I saw some women shouting at the top of their voice while throwing black veils onto the ground. Some women, wearing the full body mask, were shouting against the other women and some of them even made violent gestures. I sat watching in fear of the women protesting in the streets.

But what made my heart jump was when I saw my mother, shouting for the side of “Freedom! Freedom! ” I did not know what she was doing there. She had no reason to shout alongside them but she stood there, as though she was angry. The next day, I went to fetch the newspaper to read the funny section. The paper already caught my eye as there was a large picture of a familiar woman raising her fists. She was wearing sunglasses and I did not recognize her immediately. I was so proud of my mother that I forgot my fear when I was watching the TV the other day. She was on the newspapers! For sure, my classmates would have seen this.

Maybe their parents would recognize my mother from school and show the picture to them. I cannot wait to come to school the next day. But when my mother saw the picture, her whole body stiffened, her expression froze. She was not unlike the screaming person I saw on TV. Her eyes were wide and fearful, even her hair seemed slightly disheveled. I recognized a great change over my mother. I loved her hair since most of my friends told me how beautiful my hair was and they would always compare it with my mother’s. Even though hers was short, it was still smooth and it looked like silk.

But I was horrified to find out one day, as she came out of the bathroom, to see her wonderful hair turn to an ugly shade. I was so surprised that I almost screamed. I did not recognize her at all. But time came when I got used to it and my mother had to leave the house. Even through the blazing heat, she would wear a trench coat with the lapel almost obscuring her face. She would again wear her shades. I imagine people looking at her weird clothing. I wore the veil. I am obedient because I am religious. I observe. Work Cited SATARAPI, MARJANE. Persepolis. New York : Pantheon Books , 2003.

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