What is the summary for Part 3, Chapters 34 and 35 of Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books?

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Michael Foster eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Nafisi goes shopping in search of an old book as a gift for Nima, who has given her so many classic movies. At the bookstore, she sees a pair of odd scissors, with rooster-shaped handles. Unsure of their purpose, she decides to get them for the magician instead.

Seemingly unimpressed with the scissors, the magician gives Nafisi a copy of James’s The Ambassadors to give to Nima, since Nafisi had bought a gift for him instead of for Nima. The magician tells Nafisi to instruct Nima to reread the chapter in which Lambert Strether, the main character, tells a young painter to "Live all you can."

Nafisi wraps up her study of James with her class. They discuss the different types of courage portrayed in James’s novels.

The class is interrupted by some kind of commotion in the hall. Nafisi tries to continue, but eventually other students come to announce that a student has set himself on fire in an empty classroom.

Nafisi is haunted by the sight of the burnt student. His protest had become meaningless. As a fanatic in the war, he was irrelevant in the peace. Shouting that they have all been betrayed, he set himself on fire. When he died that night, there is no public mourning, as there had been during the war for so many of the "martyrs." Though Nafisi had spoken out many times on issues, she kept quiet on this one.

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Reading Lolita in Tehran

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