Postrel & Nafisi

Postrel & Nafisi - Steven Awad 12/19/07 Paper #5 Forced...

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Steven Awad 12/19/07 Paper #5 Forced Character In “Reading Lolita in Tehran,” they only way the women could self-cultivate—to develop their selves through their own studies, they could only take in unbiased sources. They could not let the media, the government, or anything that attempted to force a certain viewpoint upon them influence them before they could see the whole picture. For it is only through such a scope that self-cultivation is possible. This holds legitimacy to Virginia Postrel’s “Surface and Substance.” In a consumerist culture, where the aesthetics of worship have taken precedence over the preacher’s message, where PowerPoint slides are preferred over handwritten ones, where we define ourselves by the way we dress, and judge everything and everyone in part by looks, it is an endless struggle to self-cultivate. In such a culture, one’s character is forced upon one by forces outside of one’s own control. In a consumerist culture, there are endless forms of cultivation. Postrel states, “Fashion pervades open, dynamic societies. Through markets, media, and migration, such societies offer more outlets for creativity, more sources of new aesthetic ideas, and more chances for individuals to find and adopt the forms that please them” (Postrel 433). Cultivation can occur at anytime, and any place—unintentionally. Going to a school where everyone dresses differently than you will likely make you to dress the same way is certainly cultivation, however it is not true self-cultivation. Self-cultivation is something that is done intentionally, and with reason. Again, it can only be completed through one’s own studies of unbiased sources. In “Reading 1
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Lolita in Tehran,” Nafisi and her students use reading as a means of self-cultivation. Reading, unless it forced by another person, is something that is done intentionally, and done with reason. A book is a teacher that one can choose to learn from, but not have to agree with. However, in
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Postrel & Nafisi - Steven Awad 12/19/07 Paper #5 Forced...

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