Libmonster ID: UK-1470
Author(s) of the publication: M. NORUZI

PERSIAN WOMEN'S PROSE OF THE LATE XX-EARLY XXI CENTURIES.

M. NORUZI

Candidate of Philological Sciences

Moscow State University named after V. I. Abramovich. Allame Tabatabaei (Iran)

Keywords: Iran, Zoya Pirzad, women's world, interpersonal relations, woman and society

The first experiments of "women's prose" in Iran began to appear in the 30s of the XX century. - more often in the form of memoirs, memoirs. The plots were descriptive and moralizing in nature. For example, how frivolous actions of young girls lead to misfortune:" An unhappy girl and a capricious guy " (1930) by Irandokht Timurtas; Parviz and Parvin (1933) by Zahra Kiya-Khanlari.

In the next three decades, women writers did not achieve much success in literature, not being able to neglect their traditional duties.

Of course, the transformations associated with the general democratic movements and social development of the 1960s and 1970s, the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979, and the eight-year war with Iraq in the 1980s brought new themes and intonations to literature, including women's prose. In the late 1970s and 1980s, writers who managed to reflect these transformations began to gain fame: Simin Daneshwar (b. 1921), Goli Taraggi (b.1939), Mahshid Amirshahi (b. 1937).

Currently, women's prose in Persian literature is developing in various forms. Writers, reflecting the inner world of women, try to put questions that concern them in all periods of life-family, happiness, love, loneliness, self - identification, self-consciousness, female subjectivity, emancipation, etc. - and answer them in their own way.

One of the most popular representatives of modern Iranian women's prose is Zoya Pirzad. She was born on January 1, 1951 in the southwestern part of Iran, in the city of Abadan. Her father is an Iranian of Russian origin, and her mother is Armenian. Zoya spent her childhood in Abadan, then she got married and lived in Tehran. Currently lives in Germany. She began her literary career after the Iranian Revolution in the 1980s. The works of Zoya Pirzad became a phenomenon in Iranian literature at the turn of the XX-XXI centuries.

Collections of her short stories were reprinted many times: "Like other Evenings" (1991); "A Taste of astringent Persimmon" (1997); "The Day before Easter" (1998). Zoya Pirzad's first novel, I Turn Out the Lights, was published in 2001 and won four literary awards in Iran. Her second novel "Getting Used to It" was published in 2004 and also did not go unnoticed. Her short stories and novels have been translated into several foreign languages.

What attracts readers to the works of Zoya Pirzad? The world of her heroines in comparison with the heroines of the works of writers of the previous period significantly expanded and went beyond the family and household sphere. Zoya Pirzad examines both the personal and social planes of women's existence: women and society, relationships between women and men, women and the patriarchal world, etc.In the center of her attention are acute mental conflicts and disagreements, the inner life of the heroine, feelings, moods and thoughts.

The narrative in her works is often conducted in the third person, but the author's presence is not very noticeable, and the stories are easy to read. Zoya Pirzad speaks clearly, deeply, modestly and soberly about the life of a woman in a closed patriarchal society. Her characters mostly belong to the middle class. They are - especially in her early stories-passive creatures, submissively accepting their fate.

Zoya Pirzad's character is always lonely: bored, she stands at the window, watching the monotonous life of the street. Her usual means of characterization is reflection, an internal monologue. The attitude of a person to the surrounding reality and to himself is the main thing in the character of Zoya Pirzad's characters.

The collection "Like other evenings" 1 includes 18 short stories that draw poetic pictures, "a piece of working and urban life of the present time. Characters are usually middle-aged or old people. Often-women who live in their seclusion, as in a shelter, and the memories of the past life pass before their inner eyes " 2.

The heroines in this collection " strive for self-awareness and understanding of interpersonal relationships. Often we see them standing in the window frame with an anxious expression on their faces. It was as if fate itself, repeating itself from generation to generation, had framed them.

page 69

The daughter repeats the life of her mother, but with increased suffering. Endless worries, anxieties, frustrations in married life, difficulties of working in and out of the home. All life is longing and repetition. " 3

The characters in the first collection of short stories are usually nameless; they are universal collective images.

The second collection, "The Taste of Astringent Persimmon" 4, which includes five short stories - "Spots", "Apartment", "Pere Lachaise", "Harmonica", "The Taste of astringent Persimmon" - was awarded the Iranian literary award "Twenty Years of Fiction" in 1997, and the popular French newspaper Courrier International she awarded him the title of the best foreign book of 2009. In this collection, Pirzad artfully demonstrates short scenes from the everyday life of housewives and working women, deliberately contrasts working women with housewives, as well as women with men, and examines the value criteria of a modern woman.

Her characters have become more active, deep and complex, they express their opinions. They are already much less likely to be seen in the role of contemplators at the window. They differ in the characteristics of their characters. Unlike the first collection, Zoya Pirzad gave her characters names, revealed their past, and outlined their personality. The author shows that women are " dissatisfied with their position. They have subjectively become independent here and even sometimes build their own destiny, living outside the family. " 5

Stories of the third collection of Pirzad "The day before Easter"6 increased in volume and became more complex in content. The heroines have become stronger and are determined to decide their own fate. This collection, which includes three short stories - "Cherry Pits", "Scallops" and " White Violets "-was awarded in the next, 17th Book of the Year competition in 1999." The author creates characters and narrates using a detailed and accurate descriptive method. The history of one Armenian community is given in a clash with its own traditions, principles and beliefs"7. Zoya Pirzad considers from the perspective of a teenager from an Armenian family what it means to "be a woman", "be a man", what is the "difference of religions", "difference of social classes", what are "beliefs", how to convey spiritual values to children.

In Iran, as in other Muslim countries, the role of women in family and social life, as well as women's rights in general, are viewed through the prism of religion. Zoya Pirzad's first novel, "I Turn out the Light", 8 tells about the life of Armenians and the Christian culture in the Muslim society of Iran.

The novel reflects the events of the 50s-60s of the XX century in Iran: the oil boom, the invasion of foreigners, the locust attack on Abadan, the emergence of secular and liberal movements, the development of the women's movement in the country. This novel is considered one of the most successful and popular in Iran at the turn of the XX-XXI centuries.

The main character Clarice is a housewife, her husband is an engineer of an oil company in Abadan. She has three children - a teenage boy and two twin girls. Clarice's life, despite all the ups and downs, is slow and boring.

From collection to collection, from novel to novel, we observe the evolution of female images. It is especially noticeable in the novel "Getting Used to It"9. The main character-Arezu-is an independent woman with a masculine appearance. It is as if she competes with a man in skills that are traditionally more characteristic of him than her, and too often wins from him. Arezu is a heroine who embodies the newly acquired masculinity traits of a woman, she is a new heroine of mature modern Persian women's prose.

In portraying her fate, her position in the alien male world, an important role was played by the psychological justification of her personal characteristics in her life conflicts, a clear correlation between personal and social. The novel "portrays different aspects of the character of a woman who, despite all the difficulties of life, does not raise an eyebrow from problems and is generally a model of an Iranian hardworking woman" 10.

The reader sees the female world through the eyes of the heroine and meets with the complexities of the relationship of three generations: the grandmother, her daughter and granddaughter. Ares is 41 years old. Her husband left her and went to France. Her only, beloved daughter is 19 years old. Arezu lives with her daughter separately from her mother. After her father's death, she works in a real estate agency that demands masculine, combative qualities. This profession is not considered a female one in Iran. Arezu works to fulfill the wishes of his loved ones.

But suddenly she falls in love. Her chosen one is perfect. Arezu is faced with a choice between family and love. If she chooses the former, then she will never forgive herself for the rest of her life, and if the latter, then she will lose the support of her relatives. She chooses love and decides that, sooner or later, everyone will get used to this situation, to a new way of life: she wanted to prove to them and proved - "I am".

Zoya Pirzad presents her views on the role and significance of women in her personal life and in society. The writer creates her own concept of femininity, which is manifested in her attitude to women, to the female world. If earlier it was important for her the attitude of society to women, but recently it is concerned about the attitude of women to society. It turns out that the transition of a woman from the family orbit to the social orbit is very difficult to experience.

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Together with other representatives of women's literature, Zoya Pirzad tries to change the opinion of women about their role and purpose in society. If women themselves get used to respecting their own abilities and desires, they will be able to force others to perceive themselves as a "being of the right". Creating such heroines as Areza, Zoya Pirzad fights against stereotypical ideas about the role and purpose of women, seeks to talk about a woman not as an object of desires or a focus of fears, but as a person who has the right to choose her own life.


1 Published by: Pirzad Z. Three books (Se ketab). 20th ed. Tehran, Markaz Publishing House, 2009.

Mahmudy Hasan. 2 Mesl-e ta'm-e eid-e pak. Negahi be ravand-e nevisandegi-e Zoya Pirzad (How to taste Easter. A brief review of Zoya Pirzad's fiction). 14.07.2009 - http://www.sokhan.com/show.asp?id=84065.

Mirabedini Hassan. 3 Sad sal dastan-nevisi dar Iran (One hundred Years of Fiction in Iran). In 4 vols. 4th ed. Tehran, Cheshmeh. 2007, p. 1146.

4 According to the edition: Pirzad Z. Decree. op.

Rusta Reza. 5 Labkhand-e chak chak-e banu-ye shahrneshin (Torn smile of a city lady) / / Newspaper "Iran". Teheran, 18.09.2004. N 2915, p. 10.

6 According to the edition: Pirzad Z. Decree. op.

Sadeghi Mitra. 7 Zanan-e nevisande baad az engelab-e eslami (Women prose writers after the Islamic Revolution) / / Payam-e zan (Bulletin of Women). Tehran. 2005, N 158, p. 318.

8 Published by: Pirzad Z. I turn out the lights (Cheragha ra man hamush mikonam). 36th ed. Tehran, Markaz Publishing House, 2010.

9 Published by: Pirzad Z. Getting used to it (Adat mikonim). 21st ed. Tehran, Markaz Publishing House, 2004.

10 Ibid.


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