عنوان مقاله [English]
Introduction: The literature of any society is deeply under the effect of the social issues of that society. Hence, it is not possible to study the literature of a country without studying the values and traditions of its society. On the other hand, the humankind has always been attempting to be released from dystopia and achieve to utopia.
Until now, many plans have been proposed for establishing utopia, but none of them were successful. One of these utopic plans raised in sociology is structural functionalism. Many sociologists and philosophers have studied this idea. Robert King Merton is a structural sociologist who has accepted this idea, but he criticized some elements of it which he thought were barriers for realizing utopia.
Methodology: In this article, we want to study the dystopic aspects of Frankenstein In Baghdad, a novel by Ahmad Sa'adawi based on structural functionalism, and especially Merton's criticisms on it. By using a descriptive-analytic method and examining structural functionalism and Merton's criticisms on it, we have studied and compared these elements in this novel. According to structural functionalism, a society is like a system and different elements in it are components of this system each of which has its special function and behavior.
Results and Discussion: The body of al-Shesmah, the main character of the novel, is made up of parts of bodies of terrorism victims who are from different races and classes. He is the symbol of a social system which is made up of different parts. The goal of this system, which is a functional one, is taking revenge against the killers of his parts and establishing a utopia in which there is no assassination. To achieve this goal, he has some helpers and each of them has its special function.
The three principles of structural functionalism criticized by Merton and found in the novel are as follows:
Functional unity: According to this principle the standard social activities and cultural elements are functional for the whole system, and each of them has its own function which is in harmony with other structural elements to create order and balance in the society. But Merton believes that, in a society, traditions and behaviors can be functional for some people but not for others. On the other hand, any structural element can have more than the predictable and apparent functions, and have also unpredictable and hidden functions.
Assassination is the way by which Al-Shesmah wants to establish his utopia and considers it functional for the whole components of his system. At first, he just kills the people who are guilty of assassinating parts of his body, but, later, he finds out that by killing each of them, that part of his body which is related to that victim will rot. He feels that, for living and ending his mission, he needs new parts of bodies of new victims. The rotting of the body parts after punishment of assassinators is a kind of hidden function which gradually turns the system to a horrible monster whose only goal is its own survival. He must commit new crimes for survival and substitution of his lost body parts.
Functional universality: This principle argues that all the standard cultural and social forms and structures, in addition to being functional for the whole system, have also positive functions for that element in order to maintain its harmony and balance. However, Merton claims that, in today’s societies, any structural element may have positive function for one micro system but negative function for others. Assassination as the main way of achieving his goal is a standard social activity which is done by the system. Although this social activity has some positive functions like taking victim's revenge, it has also many negative functions like riot, destruction, terror, as well as the corruption of the system members by entering the endless cycle of murders.
Functional indispensability: According to this principle, some functions for the society (groups or individuals) are necessary and not replaceable. In other word the function of any structure is necessary for maintaining the balance and survival of the society. But for Merton, the function of each structural element is not necessary. On the contrary, by considering the different functions of any element and the possibility of creating the same function by using different structural elements, we can rebuild many structural elements or even eliminate them.
The system of Al-Shesmah which is functional introduces himself as the only system which can confront assassination and establish justice. He imagines no substitute for his own solution, assassination. This is because, after any criticism or proposal, he feels in danger. He kills even policemen in spite of the fact that their duty is making the society secure. He does this because they belong to the old society.
Conclusion: By considering Merton’s criticisms of the three main principles of structural functionalism, we find out that establishing utopia in the novel's functional system is not possible. This is because, in the functional unity principle, inattentiveness to the hidden function of the main components, i.e., their corruption after revenge, made Al-Shesmah a cruel dictator. In functional universality principle, dismissing the negative function of assassination and revenge and the devoted members of the system allowed the system to kill the people who were not guilty. In the functional indispensability principle, considering the assassination as the only solution led the system to rotting and dictatorship. Finally, all these factors together turned the utopia promised in the novel to dystopia.