In Azar Nafisi’s “Selections from Reading Lolita in Tehran”, Nafisi and her students, rather than denying the reality that they live in, created a world alternate from their reality. In their physical world the government has stripped them of their individualism. They were unable to act or do as individuals would, thus they went to the book club as a way to escape reality. It gave them insight into a world they could not experience. Literature becomes their color in their bleak world of black and white restrictions. They came to the realization, through their readings, that they had given their government the power to take away from them their individuality. They created a fictional world to let them be individuals and escape the restrictions that their physical environment placed upon them. With this fictional world, they rebelled against their government and used it as a way to escape their harsh reality. Possessing their fictional world allowed them to remain unique individuals.
Fiction can express truth as effectively as reality. The way someone views reality can be their own fiction. Nafisi and her students did not use fiction as a way to deny their reality but instead it opened up a window of many minds other than their own. They learn from fiction just as much if not more than they do with reality. Fiction brought them realities they never would have been able to be aware of in their physical world “She fashions her universe not through physical force, as does the king, but through imagination and reflection” (Nafisi 259). They learn through fiction that they have one thing that the Revolution did not and could not take away from them, their imagination They learn that with their imagination it makes them each their own unique person. Fiction helped them realize more about themselves and more about reality. Their situation is similar to the character of that book, although they cannot do anything to chance their lives through force, they have their imagination and that itself is enough to make a differences for themselves. Furthermore, Nafisi and her students enabled themselves to experience new worlds by exposing themselves to different realities from the books they read. Instead of denying they are now aware of other worlds beyond their own. “do not, under any circumstances, belittle a work of fiction by trying to turn it into a carbon copy of real life: what we search for in fiction is not so much reality but the epiphany of truth” (Nafisi 248). They did not try to hide reality with their created world, only to better their state of mind by allowing themselves the freedom to think as individuals. Nafisi did not want the purpose of this book club to make her students try to live the realities of the books, she wanted to make them aware of realities that they are unable to experience physically. Their government has suppressed them and they are not allowed any individuality so the purpose of the book club enabled them “to experience how the ordinary pebble of ordinary life could be transformed into a jewel through the magic eye of fiction.” (Nafisi 252). The only way they can get away from their dull lives is through this book club. By reading, it brightens their lives in way they could never be able to do on their own. Their fictional creation allows them to be individuals and escape restrictions that their physical environment has on them. In the book club, Nafisi and her students are given “the possibility of a boundless freedom when all options are taken away” (Nafisi 262). They find a way to be stay their real unique selves through their learning. “Reality has become so intolerable, she said, so bleak, that all I can paint now are the colors of my dreams” (Nafisi 253). The book club is the only way they can get a break from their reality. It helps the girls keep their distinct selves. Dreams are something the government cannot take away from someone, just like their created world they still have something...
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