An Evaluation of the Changes in Isaac Amin Throughout His Imprisonment

After the removal of the Pahlavi dynasty, the poor and mistreated citizens revolted against those who had been prospering under the Shah.  They interrogated and imprisoned those they felt guilty of respecting the Shah and opposing the Islamists that were attempting to take power.  Septembers of Shiraz describes this reign of terror as people lived in fear of being arrested, served sometimes-interminable sentences in crowded prisons, and occasionally suffered executions.  People changed as a result of these prisons – physically, mentally, and emotionally.  Isaac Amin displays these changes after being jailed and separated from his life for six months, which ultimately gave him time to think and reconsider his previous life choices.

Prior to his imprisonment, Isaac owned a gem shop and worked long hours, which allowed him to support his family and thrive as a “sofa family” opposed to the “floor families” otherwise known as the lower class (pg. 89).   Due to his working schedule, he was unable to spend quality time with his wife or daughter, but even when he wasn’t working, he failed to play an active role in their lives (pg. 5).  His family was one of a minority of Jews in a Muslim nation, which along with their prosperity put a strike against him in the eyes of the Islamist revolutionaries (pg. 156).

Time is a condition that could either hurt or help an individual, and in Isaac’s case, it helped him set his priorities straight and value the family he had left behind.  His sentence consisted of interrogations, tortures, and memories – memories of his wife right after their marriage, of his two children growing up, and of his mistakes as a husband and a father during the past couple years.  He recalled how his wife would read to their children and wondered why he had remained a spectator and not taken part in their routine (pg.196).  He remembered the smell of his wife’s lotion and longed to hold and caress her, as he had not done in years (pg. 209).  In his current world of black, these memories provided color and hope for a safe return.

Time allowed Isaac to reconsider what he valued most in life – money and social class or his family and his desire to see them once more.  Previous to his imprisonment, money was his first priority, his honor, and his life.  It took him the duration of his 6-month term to determine that money was the reason for his imprisonment and would also be his ticket out.  By forfeiting his savings, he displayed his change in character and recognized that in the end, family survives without large sums of money and high honor (pg. 261).

Ironically, these mental and emotional changes did not have a huge impact on his life after his return.  One would expect the homecoming to be joyful and full of emotion, but instead the relationship between the family members continued to be strained.  Issac had changed into a quiet, solemn man and his family was reluctant to question his new behavior and previous treatment in the prison (pg. 259, 269).  Shirin hardly recognized her father due to his physical weakening and changes while in prison and her reaction to his homecoming was not one of excitement, as one would expect (pg. 268).  He slept most of the day and wandered around with a sad, pained expression on his face while he was awake.  Ultimately, it would take time to adjust to the changes after imprisonment and later to the changes after the move to America.