Iran Awakening

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Iran Awakening by Shirin Ebadi is a memoir in which she outlines her own life and the life of women in Iran. Throughout the novel, her focus remains on the role of women in Iran. She paints a portrait of her own self, whose drive and courage never allowed her to be silenced. She speaks of her experiences as a woman in Iran before, during, and after the Revolution of 1979.

Her story begins as a child, before the revolution. She grew up in a very liberal home. Both parents were very intellectual. Her mother was forced to marry, therefore could not attend college and her father was a deputy minister working under the popular government of Prime Mister Mohammad Mossadegh. She grew up in a special household where her parents did not treat her or her brother different. They met their attention, affection, and discipline equally. She was raised thinking this was a perfectly normal environment when in reality, in most Iranian households it was the male children that enjoyed an exalted status, female relatives spoiled them, and their rebellion was overlooked or praised. As children grew older the boys’ privileges expanded while the girls’ lessened so they remained “honorable and well-bred”.

Before the Revolution of 1979, Ebadi described women as more liberal in Iran. She wore western clothing, was educated, and interacted with both males and females. She was also free to protest without getting executed. Ebadi described a protest at the Tehran University where a crowd of students including her, gathered to protest high tuition fees. She described how the protestors were dressed, the women in miniskirts and the men in short sleeves. This type of behavior or fashion sense would have been unacceptable during or even after the revolution. Before the revolution, women had more rights. It was a very secular system, not tied to religion. The judicial government was the legal system which people thought was still fair and just.

The 1979 Revolution had a big impact on...
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