|Plot Summary of Reading Lolita in Tehran|
|"The author taught English and American literature at several colleges and universities in Iran. The Iranian Revolution led to severe curtailment of women's freedoms and activities. Nafisi was fired from the University of Tehran for refusing to wear the veil, so for two years in 1995-97, she gathered seven of her most highly motivated female students at her home to discuss Jane Austen, Henry James, Fitzgerald, and Nabokov. Meeting in secret this way, they naturally shared their own lives as well -- timid and budding romances, potential arranged marriages, a husband that beats, another that won't support his wife against the unfair and tyrannous regime, young women jailed on a vacation for violating the strict laws against women's freedoms. Their lives and their thoughts, as they discuss some of the most familiar classics of Western literature, make for fascinating reading. (Eventually Nafisi escaped to the West, as did several of her students. She teaches at Johns Hopkins now.)"
David Loftus, Resident Scholar
|"Nafisi, a professor of Western literature at the University of Tehran, tells the story of the Iranian Revolution through the books she was teaching her classes -- books that became forbidden Western literature under the Ayatollah. While they were reading Nabokov's Lolita, protests flared in the streets as women were forced under chador. As they studied Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, dissidents were publically executed and a blind censor began judging visual art he could not see. War broke out with Iraq during the class' unit on Henry James and Nafisi was expelled from her teaching position for refusing to wear chador and meeting outside class with a man not her husband. Undaunted, Nafisi continued to meet in her living room with a handful of her students to read Austen's Pride and Prejudice. In the safety of her home, they removed their veils and talked about the truths of their lives -- the absurdities of the Revolution, what it meant to be a woman in the Ayatollah's Iran, their grief for a progressive Persia gone mad, and the significance of literature as a catalyst for understanding their country and their lives."
Jennifer Martin-Romme, Resident Scholar
|Review Analysis of Reading Lolita in Tehran|
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Ratings are on a 1-10 scale (Low to High)
Political/social rights fight
- women fighting for rights
Ethnic/Relig. of subject (inside)
- woman's story
If this is a culture clash:
- family young v. old guard
ethnic of society (outside)
Period of greatest activity?
- Big city
Subject of Biography
Is this an ordinary person caught up in events?
How sensitive is this person?
- sensitive to others' feelings
Sense of humor
- Strong but gentle sense of humor
- Mostly serious with occasional humor
- Smarter than most other people
- Very much smarter than other people
- average physique
How much descriptions of surroundings?
- 2 ()
- dirty, grimy (like New York)
- rude people
- mostly 1st
Accounts of torture and death?
- generic/vague references to death/punishment
- very explicit references to deaths and torture
Book makes you feel?
- in awe
Commentary on society?
- justice system
- wicked men
Writer's slant towards subject:
Story of entire life, or part?
- story of set of events during life
Is this a biography of several people?
How much dialogue in bio?
- roughly even amounts of descript and dialog
- significantly more descript than dialog
How much is philosophy rather than life story?
- 0-25% of book
- 26-50% of book
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Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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