Rooftops of Tehran Summary & Study Guide

Mahbod Seraji
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This section contains 888 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
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Rooftops of Tehran Summary & Study Guide Description

Rooftops of Tehran Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

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Rooftops of Tehran, a first novel written by Mahbod Seraji, chronicling the culture of Persia and the struggle of the human existence begins with the protagonist, Pasha Shahed lying on the rooftop with his best friend, Ahmed. Pasha and Ahmed are 17 years old and just beginning their last year of high school in the summer of 1973. Pasha reflects on how he and Ahmed first met. When Pasha moved into the neighborhood, he was bullied on the first day of school. Ahmed jumped to his defense even though it meant both of them were going to get beat up. Ever since then, they’ve been best friends. Ahmed is telling Pasha about the crush he has on a girl, Faheemeh. Pasha has his own crush on his neighbor, Zari. Unfortunately, Zari is engaged to Pasha’s friend Ramin, whom everyone calls Doctor.

Ahmed tries to go after Faheemeh, but he finds out that she’s engaged to someone else. Pasha encourages him to confess his feelings for her anyway, believing the idea of arranged marriages to be outdated. He does so and Faheemeh returns his affections. After hearing this, the other family involved in the arranged marriage call it off. Faheemeh isn’t allowed to see Ahmed after that. Ahmed and Faheemeh work together to see each other, using Zari's home as a mutual meeting place. They bring Pasha along with them, and over the summer the four become close friends.

Pasha thinks back to how he met Ramin. Both men enjoyed reading and were familiar with literature that the Iranian government had banned for political reasons. The two became close friends, although Pasha never told Ramin how he felt about Zari. Ramin ends up leaving before the summer, with Pasha promising to watch over Zari while he is gone. At the end of the summer, Ramin returns, but he is being chased by the secret police, the SAVAK. Pasha watches as Ramin hides in Zari’s house. One of the agents happens to follow his gaze and they storm the house and violently arrest Ramin.

Pasha feels incredibly guilty over that. Not only does he feel responsible for Ramin getting captured, but also the feelings that he has for Zari. Everyone in the neighborhood is angry with the government, believing the Shah to be a fascist dictator. Pasha plants a red rose bush in the neighborhood because it symbolizes peace. He does so in the memory of Ramin. Pasha and the neighborhood eventually find out that Ramin has been executed when the SAVAK show up demanding Zari’s family pay the price for the bullet.

Everyone is devastated. The government doesn’t allow for them to mourn for Ramin’s death. Pasha continues to encounter instances of people in power being corrupt rulers. His father shares stories of his days in the military, and talks about some of his friends that had been arrested. Pasha even gets the chance to meet some of them and hear about the horrors they had to endure.

Every so often, the story flashes forward to the following year where Pasha is being treated in a mental ward. He doesn’t remember how he got there, he just knows that he’s injured. Back in the summer, Pasha and Zari are starting to grow closer. He reads to her every single night and the two eventually end up kissing. They finally admit their feelings for one another, and Zari tells Pasha that he shouldn’t feel guilty for what happened to Ramin.

Zari and the others go to see the Shah, much to the surprise of Pasha. At the parade, Zari runs out and lights herself on fire, claiming she’s the mourning candle that Ramin was never allowed to have. Pasha and Ahmed run out to try and put her out. Guards end up attacking both of them. Ahmed is arrested and Pasha is brought to the hospital where he is being treated.

Pasha is devastated by the news of Zari’s passing. Ahmed is released from prison though and Pasha gets to leave the hospital. Ahmed tells them that the SAVAK know they weren’t involved with Zari’s actions and they are innocent. Ahmed and Faheemeh have gotten engaged while Pasha was healing. He is grateful for this, but still sad about losing Zari. While he was gone, Zari’s cousin came over to help take care of her family. Her face is always hidden in a burqa, and she seems to be fascinated with Pasha.

Pasha decides that he is going to go to college in the United States just like his family always wanted. He wants to tell the world the story of his neighborhood, to make them realize that Ramin and Zari were heroes fighting against an unjust government. Before he leaves, he realizes that Zari’s cousin has been watching him, and that it is in fact Zari underneath the burqa. He gets to spend one last night with her. She reveals that she still loves him, but she had to hide as part of a deal her family made with the government. She wants him to go to the United States, but tells him she’ll be waiting for him to return so they can be together as husband and wife.

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This section contains 888 words
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