Constructing Identity in Iranian-American Self-Narrative - download pdf or read online

By Maria D. Wagenknecht (auth.)

ISBN-10: 1137473312

ISBN-13: 9781137473318

ISBN-10: 1349502456

ISBN-13: 9781349502455

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Explaining Departure 41 In summary, the autobiographers narrate how hejab takes away individuality from Iranian women, how, indeed, it even serves as a kind of bondage. Women refuse it, are letting it slip back or take it off and express their rebellion through that. Thus, in Iranian-American autobiography, the veil becomes a prime image of women’s oppression and is part and parcel of the authors’ strategy of explaining their departure.  ) women who resolutely pursue their own goals and ideals, such as careers” (Friedl 1997:147).

But not only in Nafisi’s memoir do selves become irrelevant and even seem to disappear: Hakakian describes the attitude of the theocratic regime to its everyday subjects and their past as outright warfare: “To cleanse the city of any lingering ‘decadence’ of the old monarchs, the imam declared the greatest jihad of all: the one against the ‘self’” (2004:201). Similarly to Nafisi, Hakakian positions the revolution and its eventual leaders in direct opposition to individuality. She presents the situation as a Manichaean distinction between good and evil—the Islamic revolutionaries being the enemy, of course: “A new line, invisible but terribly palpable, was drawn.

It was a place where Jews gathered. It was a ghetto and therefore irrelevant. We were insignificant.  ) Deep in this day was a feeling of aging, not by growing, but by diminishing” (ibid). The autobiographer portrays herself —and, indeed, women with their veils and Jews that are restricted to “ghettos”—as irrelevant and disappearing in the hostile environment of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Goldin constructs this environment as so hostile that she recognizes herself in the calf that her family sacrifices: “I felt as if my own body was being torn apart.

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Constructing Identity in Iranian-American Self-Narrative by Maria D. Wagenknecht (auth.)


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