The Scarlet Letter

Essential Defiance 11th Grade

“In all great works of fiction, regardless of the grim reality they present, there is an affirmation of life against the transience of that life, an essential defiance. [...] Every great work of art [...] is a celebration, an act of insubordination against the betrayals, horrors, and infidelities of life.” - Azar Nafisi, Reading Lolita in Tehran

Defiance. In Reading Lolita in Tehran, Azar Nafisi claims that “all great works of fiction” contain “an essential defiance” against the hardships of life. But what does this “essential defiance” even entail? To put it simply, this defiance is exactly what one might expect: disobeying and breaking away from social norms in order to pursue a life more authentic and healthy for oneself. As a society, we recognize that change needs to occur for us to progress, but it is hard for many of us to actually stand up for ourselves and what we believe in. So it makes sense why “all great works of fiction” would contain this notion. Defiance is what drives innovation and personal growth, and to see this resistance happen, or rather to experience it through a work of fiction, is almost liberating to a reader. It creates the feeling that if these characters can still find freedom in the midst of their...

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