Not Without My Daughter Study Guide

Not Without My Daughter By Betty Mahmoody

Betty Mahmoody was married to an Americanized Iranian named Sayyed Bozorg "Moody" Mahmoody, who was the victim of prejudice after the Iran hostage crisis of 1979. After losing his job as a doctor to a racist boss, He took his wife and daughter, Mahtob, to Iran with him to celebrate the birth of his niece.

In Iran, Moody suddenly changes his mind, beats Betty, and informs her coldly that she will never go home to America again. He confiscates all of her documents and credit cards and forbids her access to a phone or from leaving the house. The only member of Moody's family that doesn't agree with this setup is his sister Nassorine.

Betty gets the opportunity to speak with an Ambassador for Swizterland, who informs her that she is now legally an Iranian citizen, having married an Iranian man, and that no Iranian woman may leave the country without written permission from her husband -- who will also most certainly win custody of their daughter in case of divorce. Moody threatens to kill her when he learns of the conversation, and Betty plays the part of the Muslim housewife for survival's sake.

Betty goes to Qur'an class in English, and meets Ellen, who is in a nearly identical situation. Ellen agrees to help her mail a letter to the US State Department, but is more devoted to her husband than Betty believed, and reveals the secret before the letter is delivered.

Moody moves the family into his brother Mammal's house, and Mahtob is enrolled in a Muslim school. The headmistress requests that Betty be allowed to accompany the frightened Mahtob, but helps Moody by enforcing his rules over Betty while she is at school with Mahtob. Moody gets a job at an illegal clinic, because no reputable Islamic institution will take an American-trained doctor.

While on a timed trip to the market, Betty meets Hamid, a shopkeeper who lets her use the phone. He listens in on the conversation, and introduces Betty to Houssein, an aristocrat who smuggles people out of Iran. They discuss smuggling her out, but the meeting delays her return, upon when Moody beats her viciously in front of Mahtob and the headmistress.

Six months later, Houssein tells her of a plan that will have her back in America by Christmas. She learns that Mahtob will have to stay in Iran, and utters the title of the book: "Not without my daughter."

Much later, Betty and Mahtob go on a stroll, and hide out in the back of Hamid's shop. They tell Moody that if he calls the police, they will turn him in for working at an illegal clinic. Houssein summons his smugglers, and the two finally escape.

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