What is the summary for Part 4, Chapters 16-18 of Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books?

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Michael Foster eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Nafisi meets her friend, the magician, at a coffee shop. He says he has something for her. The gift turns out to be an English translation of A Thousand and One Nights, which she has wanted for a long time. While they are visiting, guards come in to conduct a raid. Since Nafisi and the magician are not relatives, the waiter suggests they move to different tables. At first Nafisi refuses, but eventually it seems the better part of wisdom. She is allowed to leave, without acknowledging the magician again. Nafisi is upset by the episode. She becomes ill, remaining in bed the next day.

In class, the discussion turns to cruelty in literature. Even in the works of Jane Austen, the worst in the best of people is portrayed. All are flawed. Elizabeth Bennett is unforgiving, for example. The ultimate cruelty, Nafisi states, is being blind to others.

Nafisi and Bijan finally decide it is time to leave Iran. This decision comes after some serious fighting between the two. Bijan feels they should wait until the children are older. The magician and Nafisi’s parents think they should go now. The girls in Nafisi’s class are divided, though many of them have also decided to leave. Once the decision is made, all their family and friends become more withdrawn, knowing how empty their place will be. It is only the two children who are truly excited, though even their excitement is tinged with sadness.

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Reading Lolita in Tehran

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