Section 1 - Lolita

           In the first section of the book, Nafisi focuses on the author, Nabokov, and his novels: Lolita and Invitation to a Beheading.

           Nafisi begins the memoir with a description of the dream she created in the Islamic Republic of Iran: to create a group for a dedicated group of students to analyze specific pieces of literature. She discusses two texts in this first section: Nabokov's Invitation to a Beheading and Lolita. Lolita was a young girl, around the age of twelve, who had her life controlled by her stepfather and "jailer", Humbert. Humbert forces Lolita to be his little lover and as a result, Lolita loses a sense of herself when this new identity created by Humbert is imposed upon her. In Nabokov's other book, Invitation to a Beheading, Nafisi discusses the heroism that Cincinnatus, the main character, displays. He keeps his individuality even while being jailed, and doesn't succumb to an identity imposed upon him by others. The scene where the jailer invites Cincinnatus to dance is illustrated as one of the most important scenes in Invitation to a Beheading. As they dance, Cincinnatus is set into circles and he would remain as a prisoner as long as he had accepted the "movements" imposed upon him by the jailer. Cincinnatus demonstrates his ability to defend his own identity and individual in the end of the story, when he is executed.  Both pieces of Nabokov's literature demonstrate the theme of having one's identity being forcefully replaced by someone else's vision.

           The Islamic regime had authority over the people just like how Humbert had authority over Lolita and how the jailers had authority over Cincinnatus. The veiling of women in Iran is a prime example of the oppression seen in the lives led by the women. Their individuality was destroyed when they lost their unique characteristics to the law that enforced them to wear the veil. The women do not look like women anymore, they become ghosts. After the revolution, a woman's position in society had curtailed due to the "dress-code" inflicted onto them. Nafisi uses Nabokov's two books to highlight these problems of identity replacement in this first section of her memoir.


free templates
Make a Free Website with Yola.