Reading Lolita in Tehran

Reading Lolita in Tehran Metaphors and Similes

Private Class (Metaphor)

"This class was the color of my dreams." (11)

Nafisi introduces the private class she taught to select female students as fulfilling wishes that have grown in her as the political and social climate of Iran became more and more hostile to her way of life.

Azin (Simile)

"She would often bite the corner of her lower lip and launch into tirades about love, sex and men - like a child throwing a big stone into the pool; not to make a splash, but to wet the adults in the bargain." (52)

Nafisi here describes Azin, using a simile to color Azin's actions as childlike - a mix of playfulness and rebelliousness.

The Invasion of Memory (Simile)

"... with the sun still perched in the sky, you are drenched in a shower of rain. This is how memories invade me, abruptly and unexpectedly" (59)

Nafisi often uses metaphors to describe the way memory and novels can transport people away from their current realities. In this instance, she uses a paragraph-long, imagery-laden metaphor of being drenched by rain to describe the way her memories totally drenched her in an instant.

Dancing (Metaphor)

"The jailer invites Cincinnatus to a dance. They begin a waltz and move out into the hall... Dancing with your jailer, participating in your own execution, that is an act of utmost brutality. My students witnessed it in show trials on television and enacted it every time they went out into the streets dressed as they were told to dressed." (76)

Nafisi often uses the literature she and her students read and discussed to create extended metaphors for life as a woman in Iran. In this quote, she uses Nabokov's concept of a character literally dancing with his jailer to parallel the metaphorical dance women had do with the government and with the various men policing them in their daily lives.

The Seduction of Memory (Metaphor)

"One memory curls itself wantonly and imperceptibly around me, teasing me seductively." (90)

Again, Nafisi uses a metaphor about memory as a method for seguing to a section from the past. In this case, she personifies memory as something of a temptress, leading her and the reader back through time.