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. How does Nafisi refer to her male acquaintance?

3. How does Nafisi's acquaintance describe her students?

4. How does the professor solve problems of literary criticism?

5. Why does Nafisi's apartment lack matching furniture and fancy window dressings?

Short Essay Questions

1. According to Vera Nabokov, what is the beauty in "Lolita" and why is it missed by critics?

2. What happens to disrupt the class discussion in Chapter 17?

3. Why does Nafisi agree with Nabokov's statement that every great novel is a fairy tale?

4. What does the magician do with the photographs Nafisi shows him?

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

6. What factors cause Nafisi to resign from her position at the university?

7. What is the role of literature in Part 1, Chapter 20?

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

9. Azin asks the group if a woman has the same right as a man to enjoy sex. Why does this question surprise the group?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

In Part 3, Chapter 18, Nafisi describes a "perfectly equipped failure." In Part 3, Chapter 26, Nafisi provides characteristics of a traditional heroine. Using the descriptions and characteristics provided in these chapters, write an essay that addresses the following questions:

1) Would Laleh be considered a heroine or a perfectly equipped failure?

2) Would Razieh be considered a heroine or a perfectly equipped failure?

3) Which does Nafisi consider more worthy of admiration, a heroine or a perfectly equipped failure?

Essay Topic 3

On Nafisi's first day of teaching at the University of Tehran, she asks the students what fiction should accomplish. Using examples from the text, write an essay comparing and contrasting the answer from the perspective of one of the students in Nafisi's student class and the answer from the perspective of Mr. Bahri of Mr. Nyazi.

(see the answer keys)

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