April 1, 2004
Essay No. 4
“The principle herself had cut the girl’s nails, so close that she had drawn blood.” (Nafisi, p. 58). “The morality teacher stood beside her discouraging other students from approaching” (p. 58). The principle and morality teacher barged in on class and a girl who recently returned from the United States was told her nails were too long. Morally this type of cruelty, though mild, seems totally unjust or is it? Who is to judge the punishments or even the laws of another person’s rule? Do the majority of the people in different countries, such as Iran, see such acts of cruelty morally wrong, as I perceive them or is this social acceptance?
Cruelty has many different meanings. To harm someone with intent is usually an act of cruelty. To not perform a procedure humanly is considered an act of cruelty. What standards of cruelty are there? Every culture has different views on morals. Who is to say what is good for you is good for someone else, or vice versa, what is good for him or her is good for you.
In Mary Shelley’s, Frankenstein, Frankenstein himself never seen the moral boundaries he crossed as society saw them until his experiment succeeded. Frankenstein did not create a “monster” with the intent to be cruel, but he did know he was acting immorally, or he would not have kept the experiment a secret. Frankenstein did not know a boundary of forbidden knowledge until he crossed the boundary. Frankenstein’s obsession with creating life left him with little thought on the morality of his creation or when his experiment succeeded the morals that his creature would abide by. The threat of Westernization in Iran can be compared to that of the public views on Frankenstein’s morals.
In Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi, she not only took us through the dramatic changes during the revolution in Iran but also through books that captured questions of morality of...