Reading Lolita in Tehran, A Memoir in Books Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. Why is Nabokov's "Invitation to a Beheading" the inspiration for Nafisi to form the study group?

2. Why does Nafisi consider Humbert, Lolita's molester, such a frightening character?

3. What secret does Nassrin tell Nafisi?

4. What happens to the everyday lives of Nafisi and her students as a result of the secret class?

5. Why does the male student have to meet with Nafisi separately?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why do Mitra and the other students find the Thursday study group to be significant?

2. According to Nafisi, what is life like for a "normal Iranian citizen"?

3. Why does Nafisi consider Humbert to be a seducer of the readers of "Lolita"?

4. What is the relationship between the imaginary rain shower and the meeting of Nafisi's class?

5. Why is it difficult to find a copy of "Lolita" in Tehran?

6. Why does Nafisi ask her children about their memories of Iran?

7. Why does Nafisi refer to two photographs in the first chapter?

8. What is the similarity between Lolita's past and the past of Nafisi's students?

9. Why does Nafisi describe the three types of women portrayed in "A Thousand and One Nights"?

10. Why do the magician and Nafisi enjoy each other's company so much?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Several times Nafisi refers to the individual rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Write an essay that focuses on one of those rights. How is that right viewed by the Islamist Iranian Republic? How is that right portrayed in the literature Nafisi teaches? What does Nafisi do to assert her rights?

Essay Topic 2

In his "Letter from the Birmingham Jail (April 1963)," Martin Luther King, Jr. responded to critics who called him an extremist by pointing out examples of what he called extremist behavior by famous political and religious figures such as Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and Jesus. King challenged the notion that "extremist" was a negative behavior, and stated that "the question is not whether we will be extremist but what kind of extremist will we be."

Choose 3 of the characters listed below. Provide examples of how they are portrayed as extremists in the book. Would the character have the same perspective on their behavior as the author? If not, would the character see himself or herself as an extremist? Would they consider being an extremist to be a positive or a negative characteristic?

~ Nafisi

~ The magician

~ Mr. Bahri

~ Mr. Nyazi

~ The Iranian Government

~ Nafisi's students in the study group

Essay Topic 3

"Reading Lolita in Tehran" is not told chronologically. The use of flashbacks and the telling of the story in segmented historical pieces distributed across multiple sections determines the shape for the novel. How does the element of time shape the reader's understanding of the memoir's major points? How does the element of time shape the reader's understanding of the characters Nafisi develops?

(see the answer keys)

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