What is the summary for Part 1, Chapters 4-7 of Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books?

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Michael Foster eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Nafisi’s students begin to arrive. She has been unsure if they would come and was worried for their safety. The girls arrange themselves according to their own relationships and their sense of emotional boundaries.

The class begins with Nafisi explaining that the purpose of the class is to read, discuss, and respond to works of fiction. Each student will keep a private diary to record responses to the novels read.

Nafisi relates the world of Iran in the 1900s to the world in Nabokov’s "Invitation to a Beheading." Nafisi likens this world to her own world of the Islamic Republic. Nafisi relates how the blind censor of Iran was a metaphor for their colorless reality, requiring those who desired freedom to invent themselves in contrast to that which was created for them by someone else’s imagination. They fight against the political ramifications of every book, every scene, every act. The fear of being considered "Western", and therefore "decadent", permeated their daily existence.

It was in this group that they could escape the "blind censor" of the Iranian government. They could create their own freedoms in their own reality. In the meantime, they displayed little acts of rebellion, in how the dressed, how they thought, and how they responded to their world. Through these acts of rebellion, they managed to articulate their own identity and their own vision of what their lives should be.

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Reading Lolita in Tehran

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