Funny in Farsi

Funny in Farsi Chapter 22 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Firoozeh’s marriage to François begins with a lie: she tells her family that François’s family is happy about the engagement. Firoozeh has to say this, because otherwise her family wouldn’t have agreed to the marriage, since, in Iranian culture, two people can’t get married unless both families support the union. Previously, François’s family had been opposed to François having a Jewish girlfriend, and when he began dating an Iranian, they were furious.
Firoozeh skips ahead from her time as a teenager to her engagement to François, omitting her time at Berkeley (which she may discuss in another memoir). Notice that François’s family is far more opposed to the union than Firoozeh’s family, who support Firoozeh in every way—further reinforcing the point that racism and bigotry aren’t uncommon in the Western world.
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Firoozeh’s family loves François: they meet him for the first time after Firoozeh’s junior year of college. By this time, Firoozeh and François have known each other for six months, and they’ve known they were getting married for five and a half months. Kazem and Nazireh take François to the finest Persian restaurant in Los Angeles. François charms Nazireh by asking her about the food. However, he eats a huge amount, which baffles Kazem and Nazireh. Later, he explains that he ate so much because he thought that Iranians “loved to feed people.”
François, comically, is eager to please Firoozeh’s family, since he knows how important it is to impress his future parents-in-law. Notice that Firoozeh briefly mentions but does not elaborate on the fact that she decides to marry François after knowing him for only half a month—suggesting that, in spite of Firoozeh’s skepticism for the Iranian custom that women get married quickly, she still gets married quickly herself.
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Kazem and Nazireh love François, not just because he’s a good person but because Firoozeh clearly loves him, too. Nazireh had hoped that her daughter would marry an Iranian doctor, but when she meets François, she abandons her cultural conservatism, and wholeheartedly supports the marriage, even though it hasn’t been arranged like most Iranian marriages. Firoozeh is still grateful to her mother for being so supportive.
There’s surprisingly little generational conflict—a fixture of immigrant narratives—in this memoir. Instead, Nazireh adapts to her new culture and welcomes a non-Iranian into the family with open arms, suggesting that Iranian notions of marriage and femininity must be updated as time goes on.
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Shortly after the wedding plans are made official, it becomes clear that some members of François’s family won’t be attending, including his grandmother and one of his sisters. However, both of his parents come. Other members of François’s decline to come, not because they’re offended by François marrying an Iranian woman but because they’ve been feuding with other family members. Firoozeh’s side of the family, on the other hand, is excited about the wedding, and even some of her distant relatives come. In all, 181 people from Firoozeh’s side of the family show up.
Francois’s family is intolerant of many people who are different from them, and that’s partly why many of his family members boycott the wedding. However, Firoozeh’s family, which is close-knit and supportive, is excited for the wedding, and wants to celebrate Firoozeh’s good fortune by her side.
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Firoozeh and François are married twice, with a Persian ceremony and a Catholic ceremony. Finding a priest who will officiate a mixed marriage is tricky, but Firoozeh finds a man named Father Christopher. Father Christopher is a warm, funny man, and he agreed to officiate the Catholic ceremony. The Persian wedding, on the other hand, is much simpler to organize: Firoozeh’s Uncle Ali hosts the ceremony, and his wife Linda, an America woman, cooks all the food. Ali was the first person in Firoozeh’s family to marry a non-Iranian.
The couple’s unorthodox wedding symbolizes the union of two different cultures: Western culture, symbolized by Catholicism, and Iranian culture, symbolized by the Persian ceremony. Firoozeh doesn't really discuss the religious elements of either ceremony—it’s not clear, for example, how seriously either Firoozeh or François take their religions, and whether they’re only participating in these religious ceremonies to appease their families.
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The Persian ceremony proceeds, with Uncle Abdullah reading from the Koran. He asks Firoozeh if she consents to marry François, and, as is traditional, Firoozeh hesitates before answering “yes.” After the ceremony, everyone hugs and kisses. Kissing, Firoozeh notes, is an important part of Persian culture. Everybody kisses everyone else on the cheek—a tradition than some foreigners find a little odd.
The importance of kissing in Iranian culture, it could be argued, is a sign that Iranian culture places a lot of value on overt expressions of love and affection. This reflects the overall loving, close-knit structure of Firoozeh’s own family.
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The wedding reception is held in an Indian-Chinese restaurant near the airport. This is one of the few places that stays open from ten pm to two am. An hour before the reception begins, however, the owner of the restaurant demands an extra four hundred dollars from Kazem or else he won’t open the door. Kazem, left with few options, agrees to pay. (Kazem doesn’t tell Firoozeh the truth until weeks after her wedding.) The Iranian caterer has promised to roast a whole lamb for the reception, but—bizarrely—ends up serving a lamb carcass with the meat carved off.
Firoozeh and François encounter some obstacles in the hours leading up the reception (some of which they don’t learn about until weeks afterwards), but, as with other part of the memoir, Firoozeh describes the obstacles in a characteristically funny, light-hearted tone that glosses over the actual stress and aggravation the characters no doubt felt at the time.
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Later in the night, the guests dance, and toward the end of the reception, Firoozeh throws the bouquet—a traditional Western wedding ritual that’s unfamiliar to many of the Iranian guests. Nevertheless, a guest named Soheila, who isn’t related to the rest of the family in any way, and who’s been having trouble finding a husband, catches the bouquet. Firoozeh doesn’t know if her bouquet helped Soheila find a husband, but she hopes it did, regardless of his ethnicity.
The wedding incorporates traditional aspects of both Western and Persian weddings, symbolizing the intermixing of these cultures in Firoozeh and François’s own lives. Firoozeh concludes by emphasizing that people of any ethnicity should be allowed to marry—an idea that many people (including, apparently, some in François’s family) would disagree with.
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