What is the summary for Part 1, Chapters 8-10 of Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books?

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Michael Foster eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Nafisi imagines the world of one of her students, Sanaz, as she leaves the class to return home. The primary concern is to be invisible, both in dress (hence wearing the veil and robe) and in action (looking down, never talking to someone of the opposite sex, not letting any makeup show). As Nafisi ponders on whether she chose her students or rather that her students chose her, she is reminded of the circumstances involved in asking the youngest, Yassi, to be part of her class.

Nafisi explains the connection between Nabokov’s novel, "Lolita," to their situation in Iran. She does not confuse the novel as being a parody of their lives, but as a critique of all totalitarian regimes. Nafisi points out that Lolita is revealed to the reader only through what Humbert tells. He has separated her from her own history (her dead father and brother, and now her dead mother), and replaced it with one of his own creation. As a butterfly is pinned to the wall of the camp office, so the lives of the women in Nafisi’s group are pinned against the backdrop of the world the Islamic Republic has created for them. In that butterfly, Nafisi sees the symbolism of Lolita’s shared experience with her students of the "perverse intimacy" forced between victim and jailer, as such is the role of women in the oppressive Iranian regime.

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Reading Lolita in Tehran

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