Whenever I read the gripping accounts of oppressed women in other countries such as the one presented by Azar Nafisi in Reading Lolita in Tehran, I become acutely aware of how lucky I am to have been born into liberty here in the United States. It never ceases to amaze me that the simple pass-time of reading a book and talking about it with others is considered a subversive activity in some countries. So many women worldwide still struggle to attain the freedoms that many of the young girls in our classrooms take for granted.
In Reading Lolita in Tehran, Iranian author and professor Azar Nafisi describes her experiences as an educator at the University of Tehran during the fundamentalist revolution of 1978. When she refused to submit to an order by the male-dominated administration to wear a veil, which she considered a symbol of oppression, she was expelled from the faculty. Nafisi continued to instruct, however, by leading an underground book club attended by like-minded Iranian women. The group met in Nafisi’s home every Thursday morning to study such forbidden Western classics as Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita.
Nafisi’s memoir is a transfixing example of resilience in the face of adversity. You can easily find Reading Lolita in Tehran on amazon.