Journey from the Land

In the book Journey from the Land, Roya Hakakian is discussing the life she endured in Iranian post Islamic Revolution society as a female and a Jew. She describes the atmosphere before and after overthrow of the Shah of Iran in the 1970s. These insights offer a better understanding of what was happening from a contemporary and historical vantage point. To fully comprehend these ideas requires examining the role of culture in her experiences, the required characteristics and the primary theme. Together, these elements will offer specific insights about what she went through during this period.

As a Jew living inside Iran, Hakakian was treated much differently than everyone else. This is because she embraced certain traditions and values which were not as common. Her personal, religious and cultural characteristics influenced the way she interacted with people. In many cases, they felt that she was fortunate enough to be Jewish. This could help her to immigrate to nations such as the United States, Israel, Canada or the UK. These factors enabled her to have better experiences and avoid political violence / crackdowns. For the people she encountered, this created a sense of jealousy and resentment. To elude these feelings, she would often hide her identity and follow the customs embraced by the majority of Iranians. This shaped her experiences where she saw Iran as a hostile place towards Westerners and Israelis.

The role her ethnicity played was to teach her to have more understanding, acceptance of others and flexibility. The combination of these factors shaped her experiences as she saw the Islamic Revolution as a way to escape oppression. However, the aftermath of these events, created an environment where they were persecuted even more. To avoid any conflicts, Hakakian learned to adapt and understand Iran culture. This enabled to observe these experiences and the lessons she learned from them.

As a young teenager, Hakakian has Western tastes in music, movies, television and clothes. However, over the course of time, numerous political events change and these products are no longer available. This forced her to radically transform how she presented herself to the world.

For example, during the period from 1957 to 1979, the Jewish community lived in harmony with the Muslims. It was able to prosper under the Shah who allowed them to practice numerous historical traditions to a certain extent. This meant that she had access to different Western products and services. In this case, a certain amount of her personality is linked to pre-revolutionary Iran and what it stood for.

However, after the revolution, she no longer had access to this merchandise. At the same time, Hakakian could not openly display her ethnicity. Instead, she had to follow those social customs and norms set by religious leaders. This taught her to become more flexible in adapting to different environments. As a result, a certain amount of her personality is linked to those experiences from 1979 to 1985. This is when her views became more cynical in order to survive.

In this aspect, Hakakian experienced similar events as ordinary teenagers under the Shah. This is when she enjoyed a sense of peace and prosperity. Once the revolution occurred, is the point she became more hardened by no longer having access to these feelings, the physical products and the services she enjoyed. At the same time, she hid who she was at school and in public. This made her resentful and cautious about how she presents herself. These different behaviors were influence by the environment and social attitudes. Inside Iran, this meant that she had to quickly adjust in order to avoid persecution for being a Jewish woman.

The primary theme that connects the story from the beginning to the end is the sense of perseverance she has. This is because Hakakian sees what society is like before these changes. In this aspect, she believes that the Shah is a brutal and corrupt dictator. However, he was taking steps to help modernize and improve the standard of living for Iranians. This created jobs and stabilized the local economy. At the same time, minorities were allowed to practice their traditions within certain limits. This meant that Jews were treated with greater amounts of respect and held of higher prominence within Iranian society.

Once the Islamic Revolution occurs, is when everything changes in her life. She can no longer openly embrace her heritage and must follow a predetermined dress code for women. Hakakian has no choice but to abide by these guidelines or face the possibility of severe punishments. This influences her views by watching these transformations from a longer term perspective.

These different experiences are showing how Hakakian adds a certain amount of realism. This is occurring when she is longing for the days before the downfall of the Shah. Even though they weren't the best, these times enabled her to gain a sense of understanding about who she was. The continuing struggle she faces is holding onto this identity during times of tremendous upheaval and transformation.

This is a significant part of her story by providing a better understanding of who she is and her experiences. These factors assisted her in becoming as an expert on Iranian and Persian culture. This has resulted in Hakakian being seen as someone who represents different segments of Iranian society which are often overlooked. These insights offer a better understanding of what is happening, how she was able to overcome critical challenges and its influence on her personality.

Clearly, Roya Hakakian experienced tremendous amounts of joy and hardships during her teenage years in Iran. This resulted in her gaining a greater understanding of who she is. However, the biggest challenge is hanging onto this and overcoming the harsh environment after the downfall of the Shah. This required tremendous amounts of flexibility. These insights are serving as a role model for other who women are dealing with similar problems. This is the long term impact she is having on everyone.