Impact of Self Esteem in Meg and Marjane Characters in 'A Wrinkle in Time' and 'Persepolis'

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“The magic of a story is when the characters come to life and defy our expectations.” ― H.S. Crow

There are many ways an author can tell a story. No matter what way they choose, having a well-developed character will make the story more appealing. The ability to make your character really can make a reader more invested in your story because the readers can understand what they are going through. The change in self-esteem in Meg from A Wrinkle In Time by L’Engle and Marjane from Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi help develop their respective stories.

In A Wrinkle in time, Meg Murry is the protagonist of the story. However, Meg has inner conflicts that she has to overcome throughout the story. At the beginning of the story, the reader learns that Meg comes from a well-known family that is smart and beautiful. Meg feels as though she is nothing like her family at all. She thinks she’s ugly because of her braces and by comparing her looks to her mother. She’s a smart girl but acts like she’s not in school. This leads to people teasing her at school because they believe that Meg is supposed to be smart by default. These actions cause Meg to lash out in school. Her anger makes her fight anyone especially if they talk badly about her family. Megs feels like her life is a mess and has pent-up frustration in the world. At the beginning of the book, Meg is in her bedroom in the attic while a hurricane rages on throughout the night. She thinks about the events that happen in her life and how she’s a loser in the family. In Meg’s view,” Just be glad you're a kitten and not a monster like me.' She looked at herself in the wardrobe mirror and made a horrible face, baring a mouthful of teeth covered with braces”( 20) In making this comment, L’Engle urges us to understand how Meg’s low self-esteem plays a big role in her life. the common factor of all of her insecurities is her missing father

Meg’s missing father is always a subject in Meg’s mind. She doesn’t like to admit it openly but her actions show exactly how Meg is feeling. The reason why she does badly in school even though she’s smart is she doesn’t like the way the school teaches and prefers her father’s way of teaching. Even the town knows that Meg’s father hasn’t been back in a long time. People like to assume that Mr.Murry is cheating on his wife and abandoning his children. These rumors make Meg really upset and she becomes very protective of her family. L’Engle states,”... one of the boys had said something about her “dumb baby brother.” At this, she’d thrown the books on the side of the road and tackled him with every ounce of strength she had, and arrived home with her blouse torn and a big bruise under one eye.”(8) L’Engle’s point is that Meg is ready to go against anybody who disrespects her family even if she knew she isn’t strong to fight especially if it’s for Charles Wallace.

Nobody understands Meg as Charles can. As mentioned before, Meg feels isolated because of her looks and personality. Charles is able to understand how Meg feels so well that he can even predict what she is going to do. Meg is very fond of Charles for his ability and is able to open up to Charles when she feels upset. Charles holding Meg’s hand is a gesture that always makes Meg feel better no matter the situation. Calvin also does this gesture with Meg and Meg grows fond of Calvin as well. L’Engle states,” Listen, you go right on wearing your glasses. I don't think I want anybody else to see what gorgeous eyes you have.”Calvin is a key part of Meg’s change in attitude because through his compliments she realizes that she shouldn’t talk down to herself and she’s stronger than she thinks. Meg tends to gravitate toward the men in her life. Maybe it’s because her father is missing but Meg is easily reassured when men tell her everything will be ok. When her mother tries to reassure her, it isn’t as effective. However, Meg’s weakness will be turned into her strength as her development as a character comes to a conclusion.

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In order to save her father, Meg needed to learn how to accept her negative attributes. She uses her faults in battle with IT and through that, she was able to save her father. She was hesitant to spring into action because she naturally relies on other people. Throughout the story, Meg holding the hand of others showed how she was afraid to do things by herself. When she was upset she needed to hold someone’s hand to feel better. Now at the end of the story, she is able to move and control her emotions. By using her faults as strengths, Meg is able to view herself in a positive light. At the end of the story, Meg makes a complete turn in her personality.

Marjane was born in the 1970s in Iran. Iran is a religious place that practices Islam. Marjane was born into Islam and has practiced Islam her whole life. Due to her being religious at a young age, she wanted to be a prophet when she grew up. Also, Marjane thought highly of herself as a kid. She felt as if god blessed her to make things better for her environment. According to Marjane Satrapi, “I wanted to be a prophet because our maid did not eat with us. Because my father had a Cadillac. And, above all, because my Grandmother’s knees always ached.”(10). Satrapi’s point is being a prophet is more than religious purposes, she wanted to help the living conditions of those around her. This also made her seek knowledge in the form of books.

Since Marjane was living in a revolution as a kid so she was interested to know about them and eager to participate. Satrapi had read many books to enlighten her on revolutions. She read about Fidel Castro and other people who wanted to change their society. Marjane took great pride in her knowledge of revolutions to the point in she felt as if she was ready to partake in one. However, after learning about the horrors of revolution from her parents, she understands how ignorant she was to the topic. In Satrapi’s view, “I realized then that I didn't understand anything. I read all the books I could.”(36) In other words Satrapi asserts that she finds it hard because she isn’t able to understand revolution to the fullest after reading about them so much. This confusion is something that Satrapi isn’t familiar with and will affect her when she leaves Iran for the first time.

Things in Iran got so bad that Marjane was forced to leave. She went to Vienna by herself and was independent for the first time. When Marjane tries to assimilate into a western culture she feels as if she’s losing her roots. Satrapi states,”...I was distancing myself from my culture, Betraying my parents and my origin…”(196)The essence of Satrapi’s statement is she likes being a part of western culture but she realizes that being Iranian makes her an easy target for prejudice and feels forced to conform with western standards. This is a turning point for Marjane’s self-esteem. She was proud to be Iranian but she lies about where she is from when people ask. When Marjane’s boyfriend cheated on her, she hits rock bottom. She lived on the streets for months struggling to survive. It came to the point where she got very sick and needed to go to the hospital. She decided to return home to reconnect with her family. This decision was a turning point in Marjane's self-esteem

Marjane still struggled in finding herself. She became depressed and had to go see a therapist however that didn’t work out the way she wanted it. She tries to kill herself but survives the attempts. This experience allowed Satrapi to realize that she needs to improve her life. She becomes more active against the regime’s hypocrisy even though she struggles along the way. She understands the importance of being an independent woman. She once again leaves Iran but this time she’s more confident in who she is and what she wants to be.

Meg and Satrapi's self-esteem at the beginning of their stories are opposites of each other. At the beginning of A Wrinkle In Time, Meg’s self-esteem was low, unlike Marjane who was headstrong at the beginning of Persepolis. However, unlike Satrapi, Meg’s self-esteem went up throughout her story. This is most likely because Meg was intended to portray a message to the reader that you can overcome any obstacle if you believe in yourself. Although Persepolis is a biography, the same message can be said about Marjane. Both of these characters are presented with something they want to change but in order to achieve that change they have to change themselves. Meg had to be more confident in her own abilities and accept her faults. For Marjane, she needed to find her true self and not be influenced by outside sources. Both characters know how it feels to be down, which allowed them to raise up.

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Impact of Self Esteem in Meg and Marjane Characters in ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ and ‘Persepolis’. (2023, April 21). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 21, 2024, from
“Impact of Self Esteem in Meg and Marjane Characters in ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ and ‘Persepolis’.” Edubirdie, 21 Apr. 2023,
Impact of Self Esteem in Meg and Marjane Characters in ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ and ‘Persepolis’. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 21 May 2024].
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