Reading Lolita Into Tehran Essay

1811 Words8 Pages
Azar Nafisi uses the power of western literature to illustrate to her seven women students the importance of connecting books to fictional imagination. She wanted to challenge her students to discuss "the relation between fiction and reality." (Pg 6) Women in Tehran, when the Iranian revolution began, had little or no freedoms out of their houses. Nafisi took an enormous risk by inviting these seven women into her house to discuss literature. If caught she and or her students could face jail time because the books were banned in fear of conspiracy against the new revolutionary Iran. In the memoir, Reading Lolita in Tehran, the extreme risks these women take are due to the reoccurring theme of oppression throughout the story. As each day…show more content…
Women took power over men and had the ability to create their own destiny. Nafisi explains Gatsby was constantly reinventing himself, being dishonest about his life and background, but in order to achieve his dream, Daisy, he could not escape his own imagination and/or truth. Once reaching his dream, his life would have no meaning. Gatsby, like most Iranian women, needed to learn that the past was dead, the present is what we have today, and the future is what we can create in our own dreams and imagination. With the loss of dream in their current situation the students were able posses their dreams through books. In order to create your dream you must engulf yourself in a novel. "A novel is not an allegory. It is the sensual experience of another world. If you don't enter that world," Nafisi explained, "hold your breath with the characters and become involved in their destiny, you won't be able to empathize, and empathy is at the heart of the novel. This is how you read a novel: you inhale the experience." (pg 111) Nafisi taught those seven women how to gasp freedoms in which literature brings to life. Through Nafisi's classroom, each of the girls was able to escape the horrible reality of what was occurring around them. Being a teacher, Nafisi had the power to enlighten and inspire her students to leave reality and escape into a fictional world. In this imaginative world, inside Nafisi's house, had
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