What is the summary for Part 1, Chapters 20-22 of Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books?

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Michael Foster eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Nafisi describes the one male member of the class, Nima, who is married to another member, Manna. Though Manna and Nima are part of Nafisi’s class, they were not actual students of hers at the university. Their experiences with one Professor X at the University of Tehran (whom Nafisi knows) represent the difficulties of women in university classes.

The group is worried about Sanaz, who is not present and also missed the week before.

Sanaz finally arrives and explains her absence. She had been imprisoned for several days, along with her friends, for meeting together in mixed company. After a humiliating experience (including several virginity tests), she is released after she signs a confession for crimes she never committed. The memory plagues Nafisi, even though it is not her memory. Even those things that happened to her, she tries to distance herself from, as though they belonged to someone else.

Nafisi once again asked the girls to describe their images of themselves. Though they were reluctant at the beginning of their class, now they make an effort. Each shows or describes herself as in some way separated into two realities. One is her true image, the other is the image imposed on her by others.

Nafisi realizes that her generation of Iranians mourns a life that was lost, opportunities that they were deprived of. Her girls, however, mourn that which they have never had and despair of ever having. Nafisi describes them as a "generation with no past."

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Reading Lolita in Tehran

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