Humanity is grounded in sacrifice. From the troubling trifles of a child, to the abiding aversion of a contrarian, every decision comes with a price. Such is an obvious fact of life, but only in retrospect can this suspicion be confirmed. Hence, as a graphic novel, Persepolis fulfills its job perfectly. In both recollecting and illustrating Marjane's journey through life, whether through her actions or not, Persepolis exemplifies the means from which consequences, both minor and major, are met.
Part I: Innocence
Perhaps of the least detrimental sacrifices is that of Marjane's innocence. Earlier in the book, Marjane depicts the children with the golden keys who were essentially sent to die, and easily afterwards explains how she, in the mean time, had gone to a party. The contrast between the panel of Marjane at the party and the golden key children emphasizes a child's naivety, and the natural lack of empathy and gravity which comes with it.
By comparison, in the smoking of her first cigarette, she got a glimpse of the adult world. And while the action itself did not mark the end of her innocence, it did signal the beginning of her transition out of it.
Part II: Freedom & Life
A similarly prevalent object of sacrifice was that of freedom. From the execution Anoosh for his opposition to the revolution, to the imprisonment of Marjane's grandfather for his support of communism, to even that minor internal struggle which Marjane faced in France regarding her nationality, no matter where the story flows, freedom follows. It can hence be contended that, especially within the context of Persepolis, the quantity of (legal) freedom is directly correlated with the quality of one's life; to practice freedom in a repressive vicinity means to wager life itself.
This harsh reality can most notably be concluded after a party which Marjane was hosting was raided by the Guardians of the Revolution. After being pursued atop several buildings, the man fleeing misjumped and fell to his death.
As Marjane once remarked:
"Freedom had a price."
Part III: Humanity
Last but not least, and similarly related to freedom, befalls the sacrifice of one's humanity. The relationship between freedom and life has afore been established, but it is further undeniable their additional alliance with virtue. Marjane's ex-boyfriend Markus, for example, disregarded the constraints of their relationship, which is questionable for obvious reasons. In cheating on Marjane, Markus traded a piece of his humanity for a piece of freedom, and therefore a more fulfilled life. Similarly for Marjane, in using a random person on the street as a scapegoat, resulting in the bystander's arrest instead of hers, she too arrested her moral standards to avoid the revocation of her freedom and well-being.