For this formal essay, you will analyze the visual and verbal language of the graphic novel Persepolis. In order to construct a strong analysis, you must first situate Persepolis in a particular rhetorical context. You will need to explain to your reader what a graphic novel is, who the author is, who the author’s intended audience is, and the social and cultural background of the story the author is telling. You will also need to explain what themes and broader lessons you will focus on that you think the book is expressing. You will use the supplementary readings/videos and your own research to help provide context and explain concepts throughout your analysis.
There are two approaches you can take to this analysis:
1. You can focus on two or three visual elements and analyze how they are used throughout the novel (use of color, lines, or borders, for example). Make sure to connect these visual elements to a broader theme or objective you see taking place throughout the story.
2. You can focus on a particular section of the book (say, about 2-3 pages) and explain the visual elements at play in that section. Make sure you connect that section to the broader context and themes of the book.
In order to expand on those ideas in an analytical way, you’ll focus on visual and verbal elements of the story that underscore those themes and highlight those contexts you describe above. You may answer the following questions through your analysis:
• Why does this graphic novel look the way it does? This will require description and explanation of book’s design: visual images, colors, etc.; word choices; layout and arrangement, etc.
• What kind of background does she provide her audience? What does she know about her audience that helps her decide what to include and what not to include throughout the story?
• What claims does the author make and how does she support that claim? In other words, what is she trying to teach us about her experience, about her world? Why? What is her purpose for doing so?
In order to get deeper into your analysis, you will need to use some of the source material we covered in relation to Persepolis. You’re also welcome to use any other sources you looked up while you were reading, as long as you found them to be credible sources.
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