Themes- Fear

Marzi was afraid of many things from being unsure if her dad would come back home to a little spider on the wall. Fear is a common theme throughout the book, and especially when the country was in a state of war. The war brought “five hundred-eighty-six days of fear and suffering” (Sowa, 136). There were already shortages of certain foods but it was worse then and they couldn’t go visit their family out of town because you needed permission from the authorities. Marzi said, “My mom was crying, she was really scared, we didn’t know what was going on with our relatives because no one had a phone” (Sowa, 48). At this time nobody knew what was going on but usually its just Marzi that doesn’t understand. “I’m scared because no one talks to me” (Sowa, 50). The adults didn’t always explain the more serious issue because they thought she wouldn’t understand so she never knew what was happening.


Marzi seemed to have a better relationship with her dad because her mom frightened her sometimes. “If I frown, I’m not trying to provoke you more, Mom. If I bit my lips, I’m not making fun of you. I’m just afraid of your anger” (Sowa, 160). There were times when her mom was very harsh and unpleasant. In the story titled Scrambled, her mother forces her to eat scrambled eggs even though Marzi isn’t hungry and has always said she doesn’t like it. “I try to wipe my mouth, but she slaps me, screaming that I waste food, that I’m evil because not only did I not eat, but I vomited onto my plate, so that no one else can finish it!” (Sowa, 159). Marzi was afraid and ran to the bathroom to clean up, and stayed there until her mother calmed down.


There was an article posted on the New York Times called “The Legacy of Fear” written by David Brooks, which talks about how communism affected certain countries and what happened after the fall of the Berlin Wall. A quote that I thought applied nicely to this theme is, “Life was marked by fear, by arbitrary power, by suspicion that people are watching you, by distrust. People raised in this atmosphere of distrust have trouble forming companies and associations. They are more likely to be driven by a grab-what-you-can logic — a culture of corruption and appropriation. They are more likely to hunker down and become risk averse” (Brooks).


Posted by Melissa



Sowa, Marzena. Marzi: A Memoir. New York: DC Comics, 2011. Ebook.

Brooks, David. “The Legacy of Fear.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 10 Nov. 2014. Web. 30 Mar. 2016.


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