Austen
Pick the person in this section of the memoir whom you can identify least with. Examine the events from that person’s point of view. Discuss to that extent looking through that person’s lens alters your opinion of him/her.
There are many different reasons for why we choose to read a novel and I believe that the most important reason is the author. Whenever we choose to pick up a novel, no matter what the style or type of book it is, the criteria for why we are picking this novel and why in the end we will enjoy or not enjoy it, I believe is because of the author. In works of fiction for someone to choose to read a novel, they must enjoy that author's style of writing. However, when considering whether or not to read a memoir or autobiography I believe that you not only have to enjoy the author's style of writing but also, you must connect with the author on one or more key levels. For example, when I read Andre Agassi’s biography called Open, he may have been of a different generation, different culture, and a different nationality but because he wrote about tennis and I was interested in tennis, I connected with him. By connecting with Andre Agassi I was able to empathize with him through many key points in the novel and easily see the situations he encountered from his standpoint.

Throughout the memoir I often struggled to become interested and enveloped in the Azar Nafisi’s recount of her life. I believe that this is because I do not connect with Nafisi because I do not have a lot in common with her. As I read this novel I started to realize that to me there are a few factors that are important for me to connect with a person and thus, empathize with their problems and see situations from their point of view. Some of these criteria include: gender, interests, age, culture, nationality and profession. Unfortunately, I do not connect Nafisi on any of these crucial issues which would have made it possible for me see through her lenses on any issues and identify with her.

As I struggled through this memoir and this section in particular I came to realize that while I may not identify or relate to Nafisi there were situations which looking through Nafisi’s lenses could alter my perceptions on her and thus could alter my perception and enjoyment of this novel. For example, throughout the memoir I always found it annoying when Nafisi would bring up novels and write about how she was escaping into them and away from reality. An example of this occurs when she goes to the cafe with her magician, she relies upon her book More Die of Heartbreak to both quote for the magician instead of using her own ideas and then she escapes into the book when the revolutionary guards arrive (Nafisi 312, 313). To me this would seem like someone is avoiding reality and being reclusive by avoiding human interacts and relying on her books for information and ideas. However, by looking at this through Nafisi’s point of view I can see that she is escaping from reality but she is doing so out of necessity because she can do nothing to improve her own social situation and there is no more subjective media society in Iran. Another example of how looking through Nafisi’s lenses alters my opinion of her is in her relationship with her magician. This relationship is particularly noticeable in the fourth section, Austen. To me, this relationship seems rather odd because she seems to visit frequently and connect rather deeply with a man who is not her husband. To this magician, Nafisi pours out a lot of her ideas about the woman in the book club (Nafisi 281) and her role in influencing them (Nafisi 281). As well, the magician buys Nafisi gifts such as A Thousand And One Nights (Nafisi 311), helps her to make her final decision after leaving Iran (Nafisi 320) and influences her to write this memoir (Nafisi 338). In other sections of the memoir, the magician helps Nafisi to make many important decisions such as starting the book club in the first place as well as getting back into teaching at the university. Looking at this through my own lens I would view this as though she is having a relationship with the magician. However, by looking through Nafisi’s lens I can see that she is intellectual who is struggling to find her place in the strict society of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The magician is not an affair that Nafisi is having, but simply someone who has been through the same problems of being censored by the government and someone who can sympathize with her.

By changing the perspective through which I see the memoir I am able to improve my connection with Azar Nafisi and thus my understanding of her character and a greater appreciation for the memoir. While I may still not connect with Nafisi on many fundamental issues I believe that seeing the world from her perspective is a good way to try and empathize with what she is going through as a Muslim woman writer living in Iran. This memoir is very much her story and written from her perspective and so examining events through her perspective does alter my own perceptions of her and helps for me to see situations and events the way she does and in the end, connect with Nafisi.

After finishing the memoir at the end of Austen I can say that by changing my point of view and examining events through Nafisi, who I could previously not connect with, is an effect tool to enjoy the memoir. The memoir still was not about a topic I was interested in such as Open by Andre Agassi or written by someone of my generation or my gender or my nationality but by seeing events in the memoir through Nafisi's perspective I became a censored Muslim writer living in Iran. As Brendan Goldenberg I could not identify with her but as the person reading the memoir, I could. Thus, in conclusion I believe that while Reading Lolita In Tehran may not have been my favourite memoir, I believe that at least in this section of the memoir I came to relate to and change my perception of, Nafisi, as I examined events through her eyes.