How's everyone's reading going? I really enjoy this book so far, and I have a passage on page 26 I'd like to connect to.On page 26, the very last paragraph before chapter 8, the author writes how her and her students created their own worlds outside their own, strict life as women in Tehran. She asks an intriguing question: "Which of these two worlds was more real, and to which did we really belong?" (26). I connected to the fact that, and this may sound crazy, but that I too live in and out of my own created realm, a place where I belonged when in the real world I didn't. What do you think the author means by her question? Is it wrong to have such independent thoughts about being somewhere better? These women had to have their own worlds because in their society, there wasn't much else they could have to call their own.
November 27, 2007 9:50 PM
I agree with your ideas Eddie on how the girls live an illusion and are free to express themselves within the safe walls of Azar's home.
After reading the part "Lolita", I am now interested in reading that one too! But anywho, as Azar describes the novel "Lolita", I couldn't help but compare the girl Lolita's trapped life to the girl's lives outside Azar's home. Both parties are forced into a tyrancy of men, and bot parties long for a world outside their own. Yassi on page 32 is depicted as Azar tells the reader about her life. Yassi in my opinion is most similar to "Lolita". "All her life she was shielded. She was never let out of sight; she never had a private corner in which to think, to feel, to dream, to write. She was not allowed to meet any young men on her own" (32). Yassi also is the only one to wear a veil in the safety of Azar's home.
All the characters suffer in a way, and all have the situation where they cannot be free outside their sanctuary of novels.
November 29, 2007 6:46 PM
I agree with Doris' last post in that the author describes each character as they enter her home. If you notice as it draws the end of the first section, the characters are becoming more defined. For example, one finds out stories behind each of the characters and how their lives before and outside Azar's home and how it has affected them. For example we find out how Mashid is jailed in the first place and how this effexts her views.
I think the author describes each girl's entrance to give a sense of character to each. She is showing how these aren't just under priveledged girls living in Tehran, but women who have been through alot and all share the common longing of being free from restraints.
December 1, 2007 10:21 PM
Hello all. I Hope we're up to date with our reading. Those who haven't posted, please do so we can hear aout your opinions and thoughts.
Anyways, I'd like to pick a passage that I think is very powerful, and portrays a very important theme in the novel. The passge is on page 103, bottom paragraph and it begins with "I told him about my grandmother, who was the most devout Muslim I had ever known, even more than you, Mr. Bahri, and she still shunned politics, She resented the fact that her veil, which to her was a symbol of her sacred relationship with God, had now become an instrument of power, turning women who wore them into political signs and symbols. Where do your loyalties lie, Mr. Bahri, with Islam or the state?" (103). Throughout the part of "Gatsby", political events occur, and anti-American ideas form around Azar's world. But how does the state influence many to burn American flags when Islamic women are subjected to a life with limited rights? How can the state turn a symbol of their people's faith into a tool of power?
I also chose this passage because it portrays the author, relating to her grandmother, how strong of a woman she is standing against men in her society. She realizes how the state is using women for control of the people, and in many ways, the author is a rebel.
December 5, 2007 8:58 PM
At the beginning and middle of part Gatsby, Mike Gold is mentioned several times by the author. I looked up information about him, and figured that his life and works are well worth mentioning and have a great deal of connection to the novel.
Mike Gold was a Jewish, American literary critic, who was part of the left wing. Left wing is a political term which refers to the political ideals that states the importance and priority of achieving social equality through numerous rights of citizens, as opposed to private, individual interests, a traditional view of society, represented on the right policy. In general, the left-wing tends to uphold a secular (state separate from church) society, egalitarian (equal) and multicultural.
On page 107, the author mentions a passage from Mike Gold's "The New Masses". "The New Masses" is a publication of leftist works and it set up radical theater groups. I believe the author mentions Mike Gold in the novel because his ideals go along with the author's struggle in a society where it seems to hold traditional, religious values which are used against the people, especially women.
December 9, 2007 10:34 AM
I'd like to look at a few passages on page 169, starting with the very first paragrapgh. "This was when I went around repeating to myself, and to anyone who cared to listen, that people like myself had become irrelevant" (169). Then she goes on to explain what it means to be irrelevant. "The feeling is akin to visiting your old house as a wandering ghost with unfinished business. Imagine going back: the structure is familiar, but the door is now metal instead of wood, the walls have been painted a garish pink, the easy chair you loved so much is gone. Your office is now the family room and your beloved bookcases have been replaced by a brand-new television set. This is your house, and it is not. And you are no longer relevant to this house, to its walls and doors and floors; you are not seen" (169). This first passage is interesting because the description of becoming irrelevant connects to the fact that Nafisi is losing all items precious to her, such as freedom to teach American literature, freedom to not have to wear the veil, and her profession. Its as if Tehran, her once called home, is becoming an unfamiliar place wear her feelings and others do not matter anymore due to the changing rules of the society, thus becoming irrelevant.
In the next paragrapgh, the author questions what do the irrelevant do? The last sentence connects to the beginning of the novel, Lolita, and how she manages to keep her dreams and beloved items. "Or they will escape inwardly and, like Claire in "The American", turn their small corner into a sanctuary: the essential part of their life goes underground" (169). That is exactly what Nafisi does; she creates a day where her best female students can escape the reality of their lives and dwelve into a world of fiction.
December 12, 2007 9:22 PM
During James, there is one passage where Nafisi is reading her novel, "Daisy Miller" in the middle of the night while explosions could be heard in the distance. Naturally, Nafisi is fearful of her life and her family's. However, while reading the novel, she picks out a passage that seems to alive some of her fears. "And in a scene I will always remember-not only because of that night-Daisy tells Winterbourne: " 'You needn't be afraid. I am not afraid!' And she gave a little laugh. Winterbourne fancied there was a tremor in her voice; he was touched, shocked, motified by it. 'My dear young lady,' he protested, 'she knows no one. It's her wretched health.' The young girl walked on a few steps, laughing still. 'You needn't be afraid,' she repeated' " (187). I picked out this certain passage because I believe it's significant to Nafisi's life after the revolution in Tehran that takes place in James. In the beginning section, Lolita, Nafisi seems to show no fear in reading forbidden western books with her students. I believe part of this is because of that night, reading her fiction novel that gave her strenght and to not be afraid. This goes along with the other students as well, since when reading fiction, their lives under the state mean nothing as long as they are into a good book.
December 13, 2007 6:51 PM
In Austen, the final section of the novel, I want to look at a passage, that like many oher posts, deals with how in the society treats women as inferior.
Page 259 starting with " 'How about a temporary marriae?' " up to the following paragrapgh " 'She isn't forced into it' ". In the passage, Nassrin refers to the law which allows men to have many temporary marriges in order to have their needs satisfyed when their wives couldn't comply. I'm going to agree with the "reactionaries" who believed that "the temporary marrige is a sanctified form of prostitution" (259). One can't help but notice the irony in this passage concerning Islamic rule. According to their rule, prostitution is punished through a variety of methods. Yes their law allowing men to have temporary lives would be equivalent to adultery, something else which is punishable. The law complies with men's sexual needs but debilitates a woman's rights of freedom.
December 20, 2007 8:57 PM