Gender and Eventfulness in Zoya Pirzad’s I Turn off the Lights: Towards a Comparative Narrative Theory

Document Type: Original Article


Instructor of English Language and Literature, Semnan University, Semnan, Iran


The present paper proposes to consider eventfulness as a category for developing feminist narratology. Feminist/gender-conscious models of narrative theory have already taken into account a few narratological categories for their project including narrative closure, engaging narrator, and narrative authority. Studying the relationship between narrative eventfulness and women’s writing can be of great help for furthering the feminist narratology’s agenda. Eventfulness is a scalar feature of narrative, attributed to the degree of existence of a change of state. An event can occur in story-world, narration, or in the reader’s mind. The canonicity-breach aspect of an event, that is, the success or failure in transgressing boundaries, makes eventfulness ideologically significant. To show the applicability of gendering narrative eventfulness, Zoya Pirzad’s I Turn off the Lights is used as an illustrative example. I Turn off the Lights (Persian: Cheraq-ha ra Man Khamush Mikonam 2001; English translation: Things We Left Unsaid 2012) is a contemporary Iranian novel which has been received very well by the readers. Choosing I Turn off the Lights as an example is expected to give my appropriation of feminist narrative theory a comparative quality. By situating I Turn off the Lights in the literary context of Iran, it is argued that the reduced form of eventfulness in the novel can be read as a sign of ossified normative orders that make border crossing for the main female character (Clarisse) almost impossible.