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Choose two questions from the choices below and write a full response taking into account the arguments and themes Manguel and Nafisi present and develop in the readings assigned and the extensive class discussions we have had over the last few weeks. The more cohesive, coherent, and informed your answer, the more points you will receive. Make sure you ground/connect your response on a clear and thorough understanding of the text. Poorly organized answers or answers that show little understanding or engagement with text will receive low grades. Each answer is worth 20 points. Remember to choose one question that deals with Nafisi and one with Manguel.
In The Book of Memory, Manguel argues that the invention of writing is closely linked to the development of historical memory. Explain what the linkage is; use textual evidence to support your argument.
In the chapter titled The Last Page, Manguel describes how reading has shaped his views of the world and his sense of self. Using textual evidence, explain the influence reading has had in Manguel’s life. Explain briefly whether you see some parallels between Manguel’s experiences with books and your own.
In Reading Shadows, Manguel explains what reading is, arguing than it is more than understanding what is written, and that reading is a way of making sense of the natural world and each other. He argues that “the human body was already capable of the acts of reading and writing that still lay in the future; that is to say, the body was able to store, recall and decipher all manner of sensations, including the arbitrary signs of written language yet to be invented.” Explain and explore how “reading” precedes the invention of writing and how we seem to be naturally constituted for the act of reading.
Nafisi, as well as Manguel, sees that reading and discussing ideas can be seen by repressive societies as subversive and dangerous. In a concise and clearly organized essay, explain what both Manguel and Nafisi say are the dangers to society that reading, thinking, and interpreting represent.
Explain in detail why Nafisi chooses Nabokov’s book, Lolita for her meetings with “her girls.”? What is the significance of the choice? What does Nafisi say is the relationship between Lolita and the situation in Iran at the time? Evaluate her reasons.
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