But even as she offers it, Nafisi pulls back from this heavy-handed application of literature. The Islamic Republic of Iran maintained its hegemony through the repression of women, but, she says, "We were not Lolita, the Ayatollah was not Humbert and this republic was not what Humbert called his princedom by the sea." The novel goes against the grain of oppression for reasons intrinsic to the book’s composition: its language and its vision, as exemplified even in simple descriptive passages. What the ayatollahs and their minions cannot permit are subtlety, clarity, and exact discrimination. It is subversive merely to indicate that characters have past lives and that a precise depiction of private history might matter. The unique, idiosyncratic consciousness is offensive to tyranny.