Subjectivity and Ideological Interpellation: An Althusserian Reading of Bozorg Alavi’s Her Eyes

Baktiar Sadjadi, Alireza Ahmadirad


The present study seeks to critically investigate Bozorg Alavi’s celebrated Persian novel, Čašmhāyaš (Her Eyes), in terms of Louis Althusser’s concepts of ideology, interpellation and, most significantly, the subject/Subject model. Althusser developed the notion of ‘interpellation,’ that is the procedure through which individuals become subjects by what he called Ideological State Apparatuses. Accordingly, there exist ‘subjects’ and ‘the Subject’ at work precisely in the way ‘ideologies’ and ‘Ideology’ are present in the process of subjectivization. The subject is the individual who turns into being interpellated whereas the Subject is required by ideology. Bozorg Alavi’s Her Eyes, considered as chef-d’oeuvre in the realm of modern Persian realist fiction, portrays a protagonist who is wholeheartedly attached to his ideological Cause, a character who dedicated his whole life to socialist ideals. Alavi’s masterful depiction of the protagonist, Master Makan, and other major characters including Farangis in particular, demonstrates the way individuals are both consciously and unconsciously recruited by ideology, a process through which the subjects attempt to impersonate the Subject. Structurally, the ideological devotion in the protagonist, here to the communist Tudeh Party, entangles the subjects with a closed domain in a destructive manner that leads to their downfall.


Ideological State Apparatuses, Interpellation, the subject/Subject model, Ideology, Persian Novel, Tudeh Party

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