Azar Nafisi

The author of Reading Lolita in Tehran. An English literature professor who holds her own private literature class in her home.



Nafisi's husband. He is hardworking and very calm.
The Magician
The Magician's real name is Professor R. By choice, he quit his post at the University of Tehran, and decided to live in a secluded environment in an attempt to separate himself from the regime as much as possible. He acts as Nafisi's secret advisor and always has the solutions to Nafisi's problems and worries.

The Seven Students

She is the tallest among the students and has blonde hair. She is considered a "trophy wife" by her rich merchant husband, and has a three year old daughter. Towards the end of the novel, Azin develops marital problems and wants a divorce. She is inclined to talk about love, sex, and men and because of her outrageous comments, she was dubbed "the wild one" by the reading group. Azin often clashed with the more traditional Mahshid and Manna.


Mahshid is dainty and has delicate features. Her father is a devout Muslim man. Mahshid was once sent to jail because she was involved with a nonconformist religious organization. As a result of her jail experiences, she was banned from having an education for two years and her kidney became impaired as well. Mahshid is lonely, and even at the age of thirty-some years, she still lives with her mother.


Manna is withdrawn and writes lots of poetry. She cherishes memories of her father who passed away after the revolution and of her childhood.


Mitra is beautiful and her smile is marked by her dimples. She is married to Hamid, and towards the end of the novel, they plan to leave Iran and move to Canada.

Nassrin joined Nafisi's class later than the rest of the students. Nassrin secretly attended Nafisi's class while lying to her father, who knew all along but kept quiet about the matter. Like Mahshid, Nassrin had once been in jail, but was saved from execution becuase of her father's credentials. Nassrin eventually left the country because she could no longer stand the feeling of living in Iran. She escaped to London in search of a better future.


Sanaz is a thin, independent girl. She has a spoiled brother who is overly watchful and tries to control her every move. She was deeply in love with a man named Ali who was in Turkey, but managed to maintain their relationship despite all their years apart. He finally asked her to marry him and they got engaged, but he later broke up with her on the phone because he felt that he could not provide her true happiness.  


Yassi is a rebel through music, she wants to go to America just like her uncles. She came from a religious family and both her mother and her aunt are in hiding for joining a Muslim group for women. She expects more in life than what Iran could offer.

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