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Persian Girls By Nahid Rachlin Essay

965 words - 4 pages

In Nahid Rachlin’s memoir, “Persian Girls”, the author describes her life in Iran and later in America as a woman, refusing to accept both Muslim and Iranian cultural norms. This plays an important role in the lives of many characters, choosing the sometimes hard decision to break apart from cultural standards. Characters that are faced with this difficult choice include her brothers Cyrus and Parviz, her older sister Pari and Nahid herself.
Nahid’s brothers, Cyrus and Parviz, are sent to America a few years before her. Like many foreign students, they are coming from a place so different than America. Having been born and raised in Iran, they are coming from a different culture; they speak ...view middle of the document...

Pari is coerced into marrying Taheri, a carpet salesman from Tehran. At first he seems like the ideal husband, caring, loving and very wealthy. But there is a secret behind his kind eyes. Pari soon discovers that Taheri is a cruel man, often locking her in their room for hours at a time. She decides to leave without telling him, something culturally frowned upon in Iran. She leaves with Bijan, taking him to her parents’ house in Ahvaz. “‘He’s my son and he’s going with me.’ [...] Taheri walked out of the courtyard with a crying Bijan in his arms” (pg 172). In this scene, Taheri finds out that Pari not only left without his permission, but took his son with her. He comes to Paris’ parents’ house and takes Bijan away from her. It is out of the cultural norm for Pari to walk up and leave her husband without informing him, but she took a chance. She made a very difficult decision, while also taking into consideration that she may lose custody of Bijan and may never see him again.

Unlike her brothers, it takes Nahid a longer time to adjust to the American culture. From an early age, Nahid refuses to accept the traditional mores expected of her as a young Iranian women. Dreaming of having a career in literature, she is spared of having the same fate as her older sister Pari. Instead of being pressured into marrying, she negotiates with her father to pursue her studies in America. Her father plans for her to receive a degree, return home and later marry a respectable, wealthy man of their choosing. That’s what all modest, Iranian families expect of their daughters. But Nahid has something else in mind. She meets Howie, a Jewish-American who she falls in love with, and later marries....

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