Totalitarianism in Azar Nafisi's "Reading Lolita in Tehran" Totalitarianism is a dictatorial form of government that demands complete submission of the individual to the will of the state. In her memoir Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books, Azar Nafisi illustrates in vivid detail how she and her students struggle to pursue intellectual freedom even as they are all subject to the whims of the Islamic theocracy that places rigid restrictions on what they can wear, whom they can talk to and where they can congregate in public. Nafisi chooses the discussion of a variety of important works in Western literature as a means to demonstrate how the power of ideas can inspire resistance against even the most oppressive of totalitarian...The end:
..... squashing of a gnat” (Arendt, 443). The breaking down of moral barriers by cutting off citizens from the outside world can inevitably lead to the kind of violence perpetrated by the Basij paramilitary forces during the demonstrations of 2009 after the hotly disputed reelection of Mahmoud Ahmadjinad. Azar Nafisi’s use of literature as a vehicle to explore the often maddening situation faced by Iranians on an everyday basis is a brilliant use of ideas in a way that has a practical impact on the way people live their lives beyond their academic value. Bibliography Arendt, Hannah. The Origins of Totalitarianism. [1st ed. New York,: Harcourt, 1951. Nafisi, Azar. Reading Lolita in Tehran : A Memoir in Books. 1st ed. New York: Random House, 2003.