Rooftops of Tehran

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From "a striking new talent"(Sandra Dallas, author of Tallgrass) comes an unforgettable debut novel of young love and coming of age in an Iran headed toward revolution. In this poignant, eye-opening and emotionally vivid novel, Mahbod Seraji lays bare the beauty and brutality of the centuries-old Persian culture, while reaffirming the human experiences we all share. In a middle-class neighborhood of Iran's sprawling capital city, 17-year-old Pasha Shahed spends the summer of 1973 on his rooftop with his best friend Ahmed, joking around one minute and asking burning questions about life the next. He also hides a secret love for his beautiful neighbor Zari, who has been betrothed since birth to another man. But the bliss of Pasha and Zari's stolen time together is shattered when Pasha unwittingly acts as a beacon for the Shah's secret police. The violent consequences awaken him to the reality of living under a powerful despot, and lead Zari to make a shocking choice... Watch a Video
Curriculet Details
53 Questions
53 Annotations
3 Quizzes

This free digital curriculum designed for 11th and 12th grade students contains interactive videos exploring imagery, symbolism and different forms of figurative language as well as annotations describing characterization, conflict and tone. Students will explore the themes of friendship, hope, love, perserverance and coming of age. The Common Core aligned questions, answers and quizzes in this free online unit will increase student engagement in the book while supporting reading comprehension.

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Homework #6

The chanting between the paragraphs adds to the anxious tone. The narrator seems lost like the men in the blue robes. 

1 - Summer of 1973 Tehran

Examine the highlighted sentence.  What does this statement show about the narrator and Ahmed's friendship? 
Did you know that you can look up any word in the text of the book or the text of the questions and answers? Just click (or press on mobile devices) the word you want to define and hold until the blue text selector pops up. When you release, a define option will appear. Since it's so easy to look up words, make sure you use this feature frequently... Is there a word on this page you need to look up? 
Why is it ironic when the narrator's mom tells him to hush when he whines about his mother's dusty concoction? 

2 - Faheemeh’s Tears and Zari’s Wet Hair

It may seem somewhat foreign to us, but arranged marriages are still quite common in many places throughout the world, especially in third world countries. 
What is the primary marriage discussion topic? 
The author uses symbolism in the highlighted text to help paint a picture of the narrator's state. The cloud represents his confusion, and the color black could very well symbolize evil. 

3 - Summer of 1973 Tehran

The highlighted text is an example of which type of figurative language? 
The Shah's brutal secret police force, Savak, formed under the guidance of the CIA in 1957 to directly control all facets of political life in Iran. Its main task was to suppress opposition to the Shah's government and keep the people's political and social knowledge as minimal as possible. Savak was notorious throughout Iran for its brutal methods ( (This annotation contains an image)
Why is the meaning of Golesorkhi's name significant? 
When the narrator struggles between intellectualism and spiritualism, what type of conflict is illustrated? 
The Gadfly is a novel by Irish writer Ethel Lilian Voynich, published in 1897, set in 1840s Italy under the dominance of Austria, a time of tumultuous revolt and uprisings (Wikipedia). 

4 - Suvashun

Which type of figurative language is shown in the highlighted sentence? 
The author uses hyperbole to illustrate the narrator's feelings. For example, when he won't look at Zari's eyes, for fear he might stop breathing. Please watch the video below for a more detailed explanation of hyperbole. (This annotation contains a video)

5 - Summer of 1973 Tehran

The highlighted text is an example of which type of figurative language? 
It seems that the narrator might be feeling slightly hopeful about being with Zari after learning that her marriage with Doctor is arranged. 
Why is the narrator bitter when Zari tells Ahmed and Faheema that she admires their love?  Include textual evidence to support your response. 
According to Zari, what type of guys do girls love? 
At this point , it seems pretty clear that love and hope are prominent themes in this story. 

6 - Vignettes of Love

The highlighted paragraph contains evidence expressing which theme? 
The poems of Hafiz have a beautiful and musical quality, which also embody a great spontaneity. In a myriad of poetic ways, Hafiz expresses the spiritual experiences of a mystic, in love with his Beloved (The Poet Seers). 

7 - One More Story, Please

What does the narrator tell Keivan to dissuade him from crying? 
The conversation between the narrator and Zari really illustrates some of the common experiences that everyone shares such as love, friendship and hope. Iran is sometimes depicted in a negative light, and this excerpt focuses on the similarities that we share instead of the differences. 
When does Pasha, the narrator, suspect that Zari might know that he loves her? 
The imagery, figurative language and symbolism really allow the reader to empathize and picture Pasha's mental state. How does he end up there? 

8 - End of Summer 1973 Tehran

Since Doctor is young and a small fish politically, what will happen to him in jail, according to Pasha? 
Pasha feels very conflicted. He wants to apologize to Doctor's parents for giving away his position, but he can't bare to admit his disgraceful secret.  

9 - The Anarchist

Use the define feature to derive the meaning of anarchism. Which of the following examples would best describe anarchy? 
Even though the boys are living in a very difficult political time in Iran, they still have each other and humor to help them through the turmoil. 

10 - My School and My Teachers

According to Iraj, why did the United States CIA overthrow Mosaddegh?  Mention specific reasons from the text to support your reponse. 
Below is an actual school in Tehran, and as you can see, this school looks very different from a typical school in the US. (This annotation contains an image)
Why will Mr. Gorji's form of Islam get him a one-way ticket to hell? 

11 - In the SAVAK’s Prisons

Below is a photograph of Elvin Prison in Tehran. As you can see, the schools and prisons look similar to each other. (This annotation contains an image)
When Ahmed says that his sister runs every time she sees Iraj in the ally, he is being 
The US legal system is by no means perfect, but at least there are laws in place to protect individual rights, and proof is the prosecution's burden rather than the defendant's. 

12 - The Devils That Broke the Windows

The analogy in the highlighted text is used to  
Mr. Mehrbaan's actions truly exemplify bravery. He is willing to sacrifice his own safety to save his friend. Friendship and bravery are definitely prominent themes in this scene. 
Rooftops of Tehran Quiz 

13 - The Cost of the Bullet

It seems likely that Zari has been avoiding Pasha. She probably feels guilty for having feelings for him when the man she is supposed to marry is in jail somewhere. 
Examine the highlighted sentences; what does Zari mean by her mistakes?  Include textual support in your response. 
Pasha's dream is interesting because it clearly delineate's the parallels between Doctor's forbidden ideologies and Pasha's forbidden love. 

14 - Autumn of 1973 Tehran

Why does Pasha lower his head and cry? 
Mullah is generally used to refer to a Muslim man or woman, educated in Islamic theology and sacred law. In large parts of the Muslim world, particularly Iran, it is the name commonly given to local Islamic clerics or mosque leaders.  
Why don't Ahmed or Pasha cry at Doctor's funeral? 
In Iran, masculinity is even more ingrained in their culture than the US. That's why the boys are trying so hard to holdback their emotions (i.e. the growing lump in Pasha's throat). Please watch the video below for a description of idioms like the one in parentheses. (This annotation contains a video)

15 - The Rosebush

Why does Islam encourage immediate burial of the deceased? 
The red rose is a perfect symbol for Doctor since he had tremendous passion and love for his country. He also spilled his blood in an attempt to spark a revolution. Please view the video below for a description of symbolism. (This annotation contains a video)

16 - The Width of the Alley

Why is Mr. Mehrbaan concerned about the new young prisoners? 
Zari feels immense guilt about Doctor's death and even blames herself, but her true guilt stems from the feelings that she has for Pasha. 
The highlighted sentence is an example of which type of figurative language? 

17 - Prove Your Innocence

Rezā Shāh Pahlavi was the Shah of the Imperial State of Iran from 15 December 1925, until he was forced to abdicate by the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran on 16 September 1941 (Wikipedia).  
The imagery in the highlighted text is intended to paint a picture of the  
It seems the nurse, Apple Face, has become a surrogate mother for Pasha in the psychiatric ward. 
Why is the red rose significant? 

18 - Autumn of 1973 Mazandaran

It will be interesting to see how Pasha's father goes about talking to him and Ahmed about not rebelling, since he himself was a rebel when he was younger. 
How were criminals punished during the Qajar dynasty? 
Zionism is a nationalist movement of Jews that supports the creation of a Jewish homeland in the territory defined as the Land of Israel. A religious variety of Zionism supports Jews upholding their Jewish identity, opposes the assimilation of Jews into other societies and has advocated the return of Jews to Israel as a means for Jews to be a majority in their own nation. This has also been done to liberate them from antisemitic discrimination, exclusion, and persecution that had historically occurred outside of Israel. 

19 - Doctor’s Candle

The narrator's description of the setting and his feelings about Zari and Doctor illustrate a ______ tone? 
This sentiment is still very prevalent in Iran and throughout the Middle East. It's one of the major reasons for the lack of trust between the Middle East and the West. 
For Zari and Pasha, what will the red rose symbolize from this point forward? 
It appears that Pasha has transitioned from the stage of grief, where he felt guilt and pain, to feeling immense anger.  

20 - A Kiss

In the highlighted text, the narrator thinks that he is a man now; this thought would illustrate which theme? 
It seems pretty clear that Zari makes Pasha promise to control his actions because she could not imagine losing him after losing Doctor. 
Use the define feature, if necessary, and consider the meaning of 'jubilant;' which word below is most similar in meaning? 
The tone changes from elated to confused when Pasha reads the note from Zari. 
The highlighted sentence is an example of which literary device? 
This last sentence might be foreshadowing a future tragic event. There is a parallel between the lost look on Zari's face and the lost looks on the patients in the psych ward.  

21 - Lighting a Candle for Doctor

The highlighted sentence is an example of which type of figurative language? 

22 - Winter of 1974 Roozbeh Psychiatric Hospital, Tehran

The imagery at the beginning of this chapter sets the mood and tone, especially the personification that is used to describe the tree. Please watch the video below for a description of personification and it's literary effect. (This annotation contains a video)
Describe Pasha's spiritual beliefs.  In times of despair, he seems to question God; he even states that God does not care, and now he curses Him.  Include textual support from the reading in your response 

23 - Ahmed’s Star

The Bahá'í Faith was founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century Persia. Bahá'u'lláh was exiled for his teachings, from Persia to the Ottoman Empire, and died while officially still a prisoner. After Bahá'u'lláh's death, under the leadership of his son, `Abdu'l-Bahá, the religion spread from its Persian and Ottoman roots, and gained a footing in Europe and America, and was consolidated in Iran, where it suffers intense persecution. There are probably more than 5 million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories (Wikipedia). 
Rooftops Tehran Quiz 

24 - The Color of Age

The alley is described as darker and older; these descriptions parallel the changes in Pasha. The alley is almost treated as it's own character. 
Examine the highlighted text, why doesn't Ahmed finish his thought? 
Pasha knows that Ahmed is not being straight with him about jail because he will not look at him straight in the eye. 
How does the Masked Angel react when she sees Ahmed and Pasha standing on the roof? 

25 - Caged Souls

The brief interaction between Pasha and his father really illustrates how much Pasha's character has grown and matured in a few short months. It also demonstrates coming of age as a prominent theme in the novel. 
Which theme is apparent in the highlighted paragraph?  Include evidence from the text to support your assertion. 
It's a testament to their strength and perseverance for Ahmed and Faheemeh to keep forging ahead through all the despair and obstacles that they encounter. 
Which literary device is used in the highlighted sentence? 
It seems possible that the Masked Angel is Zari. That would explain why she is staring at Pasha with similar eyes, and why the family is moving from the alley. 

26 - The Eyes of an Angel

When father makes the highlighted statement, he says this in ______. 
Earlier in the story, Doctor says that time is the most precious thing. The Grandpa's comment about the time on the clock ties into that earlier statement. The grandfather seems to be hinting at the idea that things are not always black and white, or right and wrong. 
Who does Pasha's grandfather blame for Iran's predicament? 
Friendship is obviously a salient theme in this story, but so is family, and the friendships are so tight that they seem more like familial bonds than just friendships. 

27 - Shade in Shadow

Why is it strange that Pasha thanks God when the Masked Angel does not turn and see him staring at her through the window? 

28 - An Incurable Disease

The Persian New Year or Nowruz is partly rooted in the religious tradition of Zoroastrianism. Among other ideas, Zoroastrianism is the first monotheistic religion that emphasizes broad concepts such as the corresponding work of good and evil in the world, and the connection of humans to nature. Zoroastrian practices were dominant for much of the history of ancient Persia (centered in what is now Iran). 
From Ahmed's description of his grandma, we can tell that he is very ___________. 

29 - An Angel Calling

A burka is a garment that covers the face and body, like the one seen in the picture below. (This annotation contains an image)

30 - Enshallah

How does Ahmed suggest fighting with powerful people? 
Ahmed's relationship with Faheemeh is really depicted as ideal, at least from a Western perspective. It also portrays a very different coupleship than the stereotypical Middle Eastern marriage, where the women is subservient to the man. 

31 - That Is All

What does Ahmed seem to be thinking when Pasha tells him that he has been seeing Zari in the shadows? 
The highlighted text really allows the reader to picture how Pasha must be feeling and the intense grief that has completely drained him of his energy. 

32 - Another Dawn

Use the define feature to derive the meaning of placid; which of the words below would be an antonym of placid? 
The highlighted text shows some of the cultural differences between the United States and Iran. The US promotes individualism, while Persian culture values family and connection. 
According to the text, which majors are held in high regard by parents in Iran? 
It seems that the hardships and injustices that the Iranian people endured during the Shah's reign either reinforced their faith in God or made them question His existence. 

33 - One More, Please

Why does Pasha tell his mother that the four years will go by in a wink? 
At this point, it is not clear what Zari's motivation might be for hiding her identity. 
Is Zari hiding her identity because she loves Pasha deeply and wants a new life for him in the United States, or is she being forced by the SAVAK?  Support your contention with details from the text.  

34 - In the Silence of the Night

The word "That" is used throughout the story to describe the narrator. This quality is never explained or quantified, but at this point, it must feel like a burden to Pasha because his thoughts are only of Zari. 
The wrong time on the grandfather clock is most likely an example of which literary device? 
The description of the Masked Angel, and Pasha's feelings build suspense as we wonder if the Masked Angel will be unveiled. 
The sentence structure and syntax in the highlighted text expresses a _______ tone. 
The thought of losing Zari again is too much for the narrator; it seems that he will lose his sanity, if the Masked Angel is not Zari. 
How does Pasha know with absolute certainty that the Masked Angel is Zari? 
Up until this point, the man with the radio has been portrayed as completely evil. Zari's description shows that he is human. 
Why does the government decide not to punish Zari for her actions? 
Rooftops of Tehran Quiz