Tuesday

Absurd Circumstance


What Azar Nafisi, READING LOLITA IN TEHRAN, battles in private and in the classroom certainly is not a people, is not a population, is not the majority, it is, an irrational ruling elite.  

Roughly midway through the book, one day Nafisi describes herself being aware, while teaching lessons of American dreams as they intertwine with the American art of fiction, of a sheer absurdity.  The absurdity happens because as she speaks of the art of fiction, “Death to America!” is chanted from loudspeakers outside her classroom.  Nafisi ends that particular class by announcing:  A novel is not an allegory, I said as the period was about to come to an end.  It is the sensual experience of another world.  If you don’t enter that world, hold your breath with the characters and become involved in their destiny, you won’t be able to empathize, and empathy is at the heart of the novel.  This is how you read a novel: you inhale the experience.  So start breathing.  I just want you to remember this.  That is all; class dismissed.

Yes, empathy is at the heart of so many things.  

Do you agree that Nafisi's circumstances at that time in her classroom were just absurd?