What is the summary for Part 1, Chapters 14-16 of Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books?

Expert Answers
Michael Foster eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Nafisi relates how she has been rebellious and insubordinate since the arrest of her father. The students share dreams they have had about not wearing their veils. In a totalitarian world (as Nafisi refers to Nabokov’s "Invitation to a Beheading"), even dreams can be suspect and "illegal."

Nafisi repeats Nabokov’s assertion that every great novel is a fairy tale. The author re-creates a reality, with horrors and terrors, as well as its goodness. Good is defined as not giving in to limitations and restrictions imposed by evil in this reality. Nafisi says that every great work of art "is a celebration, an act of insubordination against the betrayals, horrors, and infidelities of life."

The group takes up the concept of the villain in Nabokov’s "Lolita." Nafisi states that Humbert is a villain because he has his own vision of life, his own and the lives of others. She parallels this point of view to that of dictators, who are interested only in their own vision of other people.

A conflict between Azin and Mahshid arises. Mahshid feels that Azin looks down on her because of her inexperience. Nafisi states that, despite her best efforts, the two girls continued to be at odds.

The girls list the "debts" they owe to the regime’s regulations of the conduct of women: "parties, eating ice cream in public, falling in love, holding hands, wearing lipstick in public and reading ‘Lolita’ in Tehran."

Read the study guide:
Reading Lolita in Tehran

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question