Funny in Farsi

Themes and Colors
Immigration and Cultural Assimilation Theme Icon
Prejudice  Theme Icon
Women and Feminism Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
American Values Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Funny in Farsi, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

In her memoir Funny in Farsi, Firoozeh Dumas writes about her family’s journey from Iran to the United States in the early 1970s, and her childhood growing up in California. Firoozeh’s father, Kazem, studies in the U.S. on a Fulbright scholarship, and later immigrates to the U.S. with his family to work for an Iranian petroleum company. Although Kazem briefly moves his family back to Iran, Firoozeh spends the majority of her childhood…

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Funny in Farsi is full of amusing observations about American culture. But it’s equally about how Firoozeh and her Iranian family are perceived by non-Iranian Americans, in particular those of white, European heritage. Many of the Americans who Firoozeh meets and befriends during her childhood in California are gracious and accepting of many different cultures. Tragically, however, others treat Firoozeh and her family with varying degrees of prejudice, sometimes rooted in ignorance of Iranian culture…

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One of the most important aspects of Funny in Farsi’s portrait of Iranian culture is its treatment of women and femininity. Throughout the memoir, furthermore, Firoozeh evokes feminist themes more broadly. Although Firoozeh doesn’t mention any close friendships with American women (this aspect of her formative years is more important to the second memoir she wrote), the clash between American and Iranian notions of what women should want and accomplish in life is fundamental…

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Family is another important theme in Funny in Farsi. According to Firoozeh, Iranian culture places much more emphasis on the family than the bulk of American culture does. In Iran, families tend to stick closer together, often staying in the same small communities for many years, and sometimes having three or even four generations live together under one roof. Family is especially important for Iranian immigrants settling in the United States: family members…

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Funny in Farsi is a portrait of Iranian immigrant culture, but also a portrait of American values, as seen by Firoozeh over the course of her life in the United States.

For the most part, Firoozeh offers a glowing depiction of American values. She highlights the importance of education in America, and the fact that people of many different backgrounds are encouraged to attend college. Similarly, Firoozeh celebrates the feminist values of American society, which…

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