Hey everyone. Let me start by saying that we must have already figured out that we have more reading to do than was expected because the book is actually longer than we thought it was. Happy reading! Anyhow, I am actually surprised that I have a lot to say about this book. The first thing that caught my eye would definitely be the cover. The title includes "Tehran", which I figured to be a Muslim city, especially with the two girls in the front. This also brings it to my point because the girls are wearing veils, or hijabs as some might call it. The particular thing about it is that their hair is not fully covered, and from my knowledge, it is sinful to display the slightest of hair.
It's pretty straight forward that the setting of this memoir takes place in Tehran, Iran. From the beginning, Azar Nafisi gives us background information about the book. "I chose seven of my best...students...to my home every Thursday morning to discuss literature. They were all women--to teach a mixed class in the privacy of my home was too risky, even if we were discussing harmless works of fiction," (Nafisi 3). I chose this quote because it portrays the distinct Muslim culture and how greatly it affects society. I also found it interesting when she mentions that even with something as so innocent as discussing literature, trouble could engulf herself and her students. Another interesting point I would like to cover is about the robe. In Iran and probably Muslim society in general, women are to wear dark colored robes with dark colored head scarves. "I could not get over the shock of seeing them shed their mandatory veils and robes and burst into color," (5-6). I discovered two things and one being that her opinions on the Muslim attire is inserted in this--and many other passages. To Nafisi, it seems that she opposes the use of the scarves. The second thing I noticed was how she terminated the sentence. It seems as though the everyday Muslim woman attire is dull and made into a black and white scene, where every woman is the same, and no one is unique. But, the last part of her sentence, "burst of color" and the "shock" she experienced when they removed their 'costumes' shows how each student became an individual and added different colors to the once black and white scene.
An important aspect that I realized while reading this book is Nafisi's constant use of color when she is describing something. As I said before in the previous quote, as the women removed their dark outer clothing, vibrant colors splashed into the room. I see that color is essential in these women's life--a way in which they can take themselves away from what seems so dull and gray, to a reality in their minds. "...her paintings were splashes of rebellious color", (11), "How many people get a chance to paint the colors of their dreams?" (11), "...until I finally settled on a red-striped shirt and black corduroys jeans...put on bright red lipstick...I fastened my small gold earrings," (12). There are of course numerous examples of Nafisi's use of color in her book. The fact that she uses these colors demonstrates the emphasis for the need of color in the lives of these women, especially the rebellious narrator and also author, Azar Nafisi. Not only does Nafisi dislike the robes but it seems that her students aren't too fond of them either. "...two restless hands, which, were constantly in motion, as if trying to escape the confines of the thick black cloth," (15). Nafisi was describing Nassrin, one of her more mysterious students. Though she probably meant it in a literal sense, I took this quote to a deeper extent. She describes the robe as being thick and black. Indeed, the robe is thick, but at the same time, it could mean that escaping can be so much as impossible. When one attempts to penetrate a dense material, it isn't an easy task and one probably won't be successful.
I wanted to pose a question. What do you all think about Sanaz's experience walking home everyday (This is on page 27 depending on which copy you have. It is the moment in which the narrator introduces a scenario to the reader in a way to personally experience the everyday life of a Muslim women)?
Another interesting point is how Nafisi stresses that the women are NOT Lolita, which she introduces later in part 1. The thing is that I can't help but compare their lives to this specific character Lolita. Lolita is a bound character, by force, under a man named Humbert. He takes away her past and gives her a new future according to his desire. I imagine Humbert as the Iranian government officials. I do this because some of the girls don't want to be bound by this Muslim attire, but only oppose it in their minds and by action. They only do it because society/religion expects it of them. These factors contribute to their bound stages in life in which their future depends on what "society" chooses for them--just like Humbert in Lolita.
Nevertheless, I want to say that I am really enjoying this book so far. Again, happy reading!
- Vanessa G.
- Hello everyone! My name is Vanessa. I'm currently in school for my Bachelor's in Social Work with a minor in Juvenile Justice. Life is what we make it so why let "society" ruin it. If you are a part of society and allow it to influence you, this blog is not for you. If not, enjoy reading about hair and products, music, society, relationships, and anything else I can think of.