Directions:1) In your POST: Present something you learned or thought was interesting OR something you have a question about. 2) REPLY to at least TWO (2) other students.
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Lecture: Chicken With Plums by Marjane Satrapi
Chicken With Plums by Marjane Satrapi
text published: France, 2004
Interview with the author: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VM4gGHS4d5I
What is chicken with plums? It is an Iranian dish:
Background information and guiding questions
Setting: Iran, 1958 (more than 20 years before Islamic Revolution) The story is said
to be loosely based on the author’s own uncle’s story.
Major theories: cultural studies, gender studies, post-structuralism (and many
8 chapters coinciding with 8 days until Nasser’s death
hybrid representation of past, present, and future: what is happening to Nasser now is
told alongside what happened in the past and what will happen (to his children) in the
the graphics are part of the text and are meant to be read and analyzed, just as the
– individual vs. society
– isolation, confinement
– gender, masculine identity
music/tar: identity was established through this object for Nasser. It came to replace
the woman he loved as well. How can a gendered argument be made including this
Angel of death: death drives the story (it is told because Nasser is dying); this is
symbolized when the Angel of Death becomes the narrator. What does is mean for
death to tell the story of life for Nasser? What outcome did that yield for Nasser?
Chicken with Plums (the food): Like the tar, this food is another thing that Nasser is
obsessed with. How does his drive for pleasure and his materialism compare with his
emotional identity and emotional fulfillment?
(the themes and symbols listed are just a sampling; there are many others to explore!)
Questions to keep in mind as you read (these questions will help guide your
critical analysis of the text):
1. How does the film impact/change your understanding of the text/graphic novel?
2. Select 5 details about the film and state their significance in the story/to the story.
3. What is the purpose/effect of the flashback as a narrative technique?
4. What is the significance of Nasser’s room? What does the room symbolize?
5. Brainstorm themes about the text.
6. What is the author’s purpose for writing this tragedy? What are the effects of
writing it in the form of a graphic novel?
7. Do you feel sorry for Nasser? Why or why not?
8. What is the relevance of the title?
9. What is the significance of Nasser obsession with his music and his instrument?
10. How does his instrument act as a symbol of gender relationships between himself
and his wife?
11. Analyze Nasser’s relationship with his brother, wife, gender roles, his tar,
daughter, son, etc.
12. Compare/contrast the different days that lead up to Nasser’s death.
13. What is the significance of magical realism (a literary genre in which realistic
narrative is combined with surreal elements of dream or fantasy) in the text? Provide
14. Analyze the effects of the genres: graphic novel, dark comedy/tragicomedy.
15. Analyze the significance of having the angel of death as the narrator.
16. What is the significance of Nasser’s deliberations over how to die?
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