Blog #5

In part two of the book beginning with chapter one-four after spending her school and university years in England, Switzerland and the United States, Nafisi is drawn home to Iran. Not long after the 1979 revolution, she arrives at a Tehran airport. The last time Nafisi had seen the airport as a young girl, it was a magical place where children ate ice cream and watched planes land, and their parents dined in fine restaurants. Now, Nafisi is confronted with giant portraits of Ayatollah Khomeini glowering from on high, accompanied by slogans like “DEATH TO AMERICA!”. She says “ I was home, but the mood in the airport was not welcoming. It was somber and slightly menacing like the unsmiling portraits of Ayatollah and his anointed successor…it seemed as if a bad witch with her broomstick had flown over the building and in one sweep had taken away the restaurants, the children and the women in colorful clothes that I remembered.” She is taking about when she came from America and how different things were from before when she was home. She talked about how things were nicer and friendlier but now everything seems cold and unforgiving. Nafisi married in her teenage years to a man who was very unlike her. she says “I married a man whose most important credential was that he wasn’t like us — he offered a way of life which, in contrast to ours, seemed pragmatic and uncomplicated; and he was so sure of himself.” They moved to Oklahoma, where he was pursuing his master’s degree in engineering. They soon divorced and he returned to Iran while Nafisi stayed in Oklahoma. Nafisi became active in left-wing student movements. The anti-Vietnam war movement was in full force.

In chapter five-six part two As Nafisi was searching in a bookstore for a few copies of The Great Gatsby and other books needed for her class, the owner of the store warned her that soon works like this would be difficult to find. Nafisi did not believe him, but in a few months many books were banned. On the campus, debate raged on the form of the future constitution. Many people, including many clerics, favored a secular constitution. Soon, newspapers were banned, spawning violent demonstrations. Despite the rising turmoil, Nafisi remained focused on her work. Asking her class why anyone should bother reading fiction, Nafisi stated that great fiction forces the reader to question traditions and expectations that seem fixed. Gradually, Nafisi becomes aware of each student’s political affiliations. There were Marxists, Muslim fundamentalists, monarchists and others. A few students remained nonpolitical.

When reading the book the author doesn’t really try to say “oh this is bad, you should believe my words, or you should had this country.” she does however say/describe things from how they use to be and how they are now. Like when she was in the airport and she was saying how things were good but now things are different and more sad. She’s careful about what she writes about her country in the book because I believe that she wants you to form your own opinion about the country not have her persuade you to have an opinion. I think the form does complement the content. I like how she has divided the novel into different sections along with the books. It sets a book up with a certain part of her life. It makes the book correlate with what the characters and what is happening to them. I think the form of her writing and novel is very important for Nafisi to take into consideration. The effect could hinder what she was trying to convey in the first place. Just as one guy took this a political book going against Ayatollah, she has to tell him that this is merely a literature novel.

Questions

  • To exhort or dissuade from certain action?
  • How do form and content correspond, does the form complement the content?
  • What effect could the form have, and does this aid or hinder the author’s intention?
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