What is the summary for Part 2, Chapters 19-21 of Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books?

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Michael Foster eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The atmosphere after the trial continues to be charged. It mirrors the atmosphere in the country, with publishing house and bookstores being burned. The Islamic revolutionaries believe that writers are the guardians of morality, and so must be carefully monitored and literature "protected." In reference to the Gatsby trial, Mr. Bahri spreads the word the Nafisi put America "on trial."

The students talk of Professor R, who had been expelled. A film and theater critic, he was very controversial. He had contempt for the revolutionary concepts, as compared to the merits of the arts. When he verbally expressed this in public, it led to his expulsion from the university.

The final class on Gatsby wraps up the themes of the novel. Nafisi states that it is about wealth and its destructive power; it is about love and betrayal; it is about loss of illusion.

But mostly, she states, it is about what happens when dreams become an obsession.

Nafisi and the class discuss Gatsby’s decision to throw off his shabby life and reinvent himself. This was Gatsby’s dream, and it killed him. Nafisi states that obsessions end up either destroying the object of the dream, as with Humbert in Lolita, or it could end up destroying the dreamer, as in The Great Gatsby.

Nafisi begins to see, as a result of this episode, that Iran’s dream is going to end up the same as Gatsby’s.

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Reading Lolita in Tehran

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