Azar Nafisi was an English Literature Professor at the University of Tehran. One of her teaching materials was The Great Gatsby, a novel by F.Scott Fitzgerald with a central theme on the decay and corruption of the American Dream in the 1920s.
One day, a student confronted her about the book. Mr. Nyazi argued that it was a poison to Iranian students. Nafisi wittingly challenged him by suggesting putting Gatsby on trial. Her suggestion was questioned by another student.
"Did he want me to throw the book aside without so much as a word in its defense? This is a good time for trial, is it not?"
The battle over the fate of Gatsby in the campus took place in the classroom. The "courtroom" was packed with students playing the roles of judge, prosecutor and defense attorney; Nafisi was the defendant.
"Islam is the only religion in the world that has assigned a special sacred role to literature in guiding man to a godly life." Mr Nyazi.
"The one thing good about this book is that it exposes the immorality and decadence of American society, but we have fought to rid ourselves of this trash and it is high time that such books be banned." Mr Nyazi
"Our dear prosecutor has committed the fallacy of getting too close to the amusement park. He can no longer distinguish fiction from reality" The defense attorney.
"...He has demonstrated his own weakness: an inability to read a novel on its own terms. All he knows is judgement, crude and simplistic exaltation of right and wrong." The defense attorney
"You don't read Gatsby to learn whether adultery is good or bad but to learn about how complicated issues such as adultery, infidelity and marriage are. A great novel heightens your senses and sensitivity to the complexities of life and of individuals, and prevents you from the self-righteousness that sees morality in fixed formulas about good and evil..."
Nafisi, the defendant.
"Then why didn't they say so? Everyone else was so certain and emphatic in their position, and they couldn't really say why they liked it - they just did." Nafisi
Paperback / 347 pages / additional 30 pages about the author including "A Conversation with Azar Nafisi", "Life at a Glance". " A Writing Life" and "Azar Nafisi's Suggested Reading."
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