Comparative Analysis of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus and Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmad Saadawi

The Character of Frenkenstein


Frankenstein in Baghdad is the third novel written by the Iraqi author (novelist) Ahmad Saadawi. The events in this novel take place on the streets of Albtaween in Baghdad between two powerful explosions. Ahmad Saadawi adapts the name of Victor Frankenstein, the creator of an anthropomorphic monster, from Marry Shelley’s magnum opus Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus. The respective literary works by Ahmad Saadawi and Marry Shelley have very much in common in terms of characters and characterization. The principal difference between these two works consists in the authors’ respective intentions and the fictional worlds created and being portrayed by each of the author in their novels. Ahmad Saadavi, for example, depicts devastation, destruction, hollowness, and death, which appear to be some of the most calamitous and heinous aftermaths of the war in Iraq. Circumstantially, Ahmad Saadavi lists sectarian strife and religious diversification of the Iraqi society among the causes of war. The setting of Mary Shelley’s novel, on the contrary, is the nineteenth-century Britain and the most pressing social and scientific questions that British society might have been challenged by at that time.

Comparative Analysis of the Novels

Hadi Alatak is the protagonist of Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmad Saadavi. The hero is a poor old man who earns his living from repairing other people’s furniture, collecting the antiquities, and selling them for money. He drinks and smokes quite often. He frequents the café owned by Aziz Almasri. Hadi Alatak is regarded as a liar because he tells the stories that no one could believe about collecting the enemies’ body parts, stitching them together, and burying the bodies. Thus, each of the enemy who died could find an end worthy of a warrior as in most cases, the bodies of enemies were treated like garbage. Hadi Alatak has no family. His only friend is a man named Nahm Abdki in his thirties. The latter died in a car explosion that was, basically, an aftermath of a terrorist act committed by a suicide bomber. Clearly, things changed for Hadi Alatak after his friend had been killed. Particularly, Hadi Alatak becomes more radicalized and aggressive man.

Victor Frankenstein is the protagonist of Marry Shelley’s Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus. He is a scientist whose experiments lead to the creation of a monster made of the body parts of dead men. Victor Frankenstein is a young man, whose circle of acquaintances, unlike that of Hadi Alatak, is select and immediate. Victor Frankenstein is overwhelmed with the fact of creating the monster. Hence, when the monster starts to kill, the young doctor is nearly driven mad because of his obsession.

The monster in Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmad Saadawi is called Shasameh. The monster’s name stems from an Iraqi word that literally means “with no name”. Shasameh is a supernatural being created by Hadi Alatak. Hadi Alatak gathered the organs of the explosion victims and sewed them together to form a body larger than usual. The soul of one of the victims returns to the monster’s body and brings the monster to life. When the creature comes to life, it is seeking for revenge against those who killed the people whose body parts were used to create it. The police call the creature Criminal X. The editor in chief of one of the local magazines calls the monster Frankenstein. The monster in Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmad Saadawi pursues the goal of taking the revenge against those whom he considers murderers. The monster thinks that revenge is his own way of standing up for the rights of the ancestors. All things considered, Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmad Saadawi addresses many social, political, economic, historical, and cultural problems.

The monster in Mary Shelley’s magnum opus is an inquisitive, intelligent, kind-hearted being. He is an anthropomorphic male creature who is approximately 8 feet tall. Most people find the Frankenstein’s monster repulsive. Even monster’s own creator, his master, denies him. In retaliation, seeking for revenge against his master’s rejection, the monsters kills Doctor Frankenstein’s younger brother. The murder leaves the whole family in utter devastation. Evidently, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus focuses on some serious ethical, philosophical, and scientific questions.

As far as the similarities between the characters of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus and Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmad Saadawi are concerned, it is important to mention the points as follows. In both novels, the beings created by the protagonists suffer from injustice as none of the monsters fits into society. In Frankenstein in Baghdad, the monster is treated like a national hero. People believe that the creature represents the supernatural force that came to take revenge against the criminals and to stop them from corrupting the country. Therefore, people split into groups and start to fight each other blaming Frankenstein for crimes that he did not commit because of the evil that exists within them. In the novel by Mary Shelley, on the other hand, Frankenstein’s monster is rejected by his creator and all those whom he meets because of his terrifying appearance. On the whole, Frankenstein’s monster is courageous and kind-hearted. He is inquisitive, and his mind is agile. Unfortunately, it happens so that no one, even his creator, is capable of teaching him to tell right from wrong.

Hence, the monster becomes a murderer – the evil that has been brought about by the society itself. He saves one life (saves a girl from drowning), but takes another one. The monster in the novel by Ahmad Saadawi is a supernatural creature created by Hadi Alatak. Those were his hands that gathered the dead men’s body parts and put them all together to form a single organism. The spirit of one of the victims has endured, and now it decides to occupy the monster’s body. When the creature comes to life, it demands revenge and justice to be done. The monster in the novel by Mary Shelley, as its modern counterpart, is a supernatural being. The monster is brought to life by Doctor Victor Frankenstein in the course of a laboratory experiment. Doctor Frankenstein has managed to unravel the mystery of life. In the end of the novel Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmad Saadawi, it becomes clear that the monster fails his mission of fighting against the evil and gets confused. The monster feels no longer certain about whether the good and the evil can exist singularly in their pure forms in one human being. In other words, the monster gets confused as he realizes that no person by his/her nature is either entirely evil or entirely good. He ends up wondering about how he had actually come to life and what the real purpose of his existence could be. Frankenstein’s monster, in his turn, fails and losses hope after the death of his creator. The creature was hoping that Victor could create a female monster to live with him because he has been rejected by and banished from society.

As far as the differences between the characters of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmad Saadawi are concerned, it is important to mention the points as follows. The creature brought to life by Hadi Alatak seeks for justice and revenge against the murders and criminals. Frankenstein’s monster, in the other hand, seeks for revenge against his creator, the master who had abandoned him. The split personality of Hadi Alatak’s monster is a result of monster’s own acquaintance to the ill and the good will that each human being carries within. On the contrary, Frankenstein’s monster comes to life in the course of the scientific experiment conducted by a scholar whose ambition was to unravel the mystery of life and defeat death, which he had accomplished quite successfully. However, as it turned out, Victor Frankenstein’s success becomes his downfall. What the creature brought to life by Hadi Alatak desires most of all is that people would help him and did not stand in his way. Frankenstein’s monster, on the other hand, desired to integrate himself into society, to be accepted, and to fit into it. The monster wanted his master to create a female partner for him so that he had someone to live with and hold on to. The being that has come to live thanks to Hadi Alatak is not just a supernatural creature. On top of everything else, the creature has some special abilities to collect information and control people’s minds as well as he had a talent for astrology. In the novel by Mary Shelley, Frankenstein’s monster is the only supernatural force.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley: Stylistic Peculiarities, Themes and Motives

What makes Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein a truly exceptional work is the following: “… we can … find in Shelley’s writing a pragmatic view of life and skepticism about ambition and the romantic quest for knowledge and perceptibility” (Bunnell 1). In addition to that, most of the characters in Marry Shelley’s novel can be characterized as self-centered. With regard to this, some scholars point out the following: “to depict her characters’ egocentric visions and dramatic sensibility, Mary Shelley incorporated literary conventions from both drama and fiction” (Bunnell 2). Developing their statement further, the researchers analyze Mary Shelley’s manner of describing the characters in the following way:

“In depicting the disastrous effects of characters who cast themselves as directors of their
lives, Mar Shelley reiterates Lok’s belief that one has a proper place in the world and
that deviation from it through egocentric role-playing in a self-created drama can violate
a natural order that Shelley believed existed” (Bunnell 8).

Building on that, the scholars tend to make an assumption that there is a self-evident and a self-explanatory link between Mary Shelley’s life’s work and Elizabethan age: “a common convention of Elizabethan drama that Mary Shelley modified to intensify the world-as-stage motif in her fiction is the play within the play, credited to Thomas Kyd, who employed it … to create an intricate framework of players and observers” (as quoted in Bunnell 9). Marry Shelley’s Frankenstein can be viewed as an example of literary work that introduces the audience to the alternative reality. In other words, in her novel, Marry Shelley has managed to create an imaginary world: “imaginary worlds for a temporary escape or to order one’s life can be enabling indeed” (Bunnell 11). Developing his statement further, the researcher makes an assertion as follows: “… Mary Shelley found the world-as-stage metaphor instrumental in describing her own life” (Bunnell 15). Lastly, the scholar admits that the novelist “… continued to exercise her ability to construct imaginary worlds that, whether drawn from fancy or memory, exemplified an aesthetic or just order that was absent from her day-to-day existence” (Bunnell 16).

Be that as it may, does Mary Shelley really gut her novel by grasping and communicating a materialistic perspective? Can anyone explain why her novel still identifies with gatherings of people so capably even today, such that the expression “Frankensteinian” is connected to logical tries of faulty aim or disturbing result? Would it be possible that Mary Shelley was somewhat farsighted in her moral scrutinize of science? It appears to be clear that the fact concerning her was that Victor transgressed not just self-assertive taboos or relativistic good codes but rather all inclusive good laws, what she called “permanent laws of right”.

The latter are partially recognizable in regular configuration of the universe, and, in this way, it communicated in normal law (as quoted in Hogsette 557). On account of this engaging an all-embracing characteristic law, the novel remains topical up to these days, attesting that is was not mentally, inwardly, or profoundly prepared to handle a few types of learning. As a result, there are sensible cut-off points to science (Hogsette 557). Apart from that, the novel can be regarded as a constant reminder that philosophical thoughts and investigative speculations have manifestly obvious outcomes (Hogsette 557). There is no such thing as an impartial or innocuous thought. This novel investigates the consequences of materialistic ideas that deny the mystical universe and its outline, request, and reason. In the event that materialistic researchers presuppositionally uproot God as the vital being of making reality, they are allowed to possess the notion that emptied divine position themselves without apprehension of transgression on the ground that there is hypothetically no ethical law or moral law giver to transgression (Hogsette 558).

All things considered, there is no genuine or significant trouble except what is self-assertively, subjectively, or generally and particularly decided. In her precisely built Gothic novel, Mary Shelley talks about a philosophical perspective while giving the horrendous outcomes of a definitive act of transgression. Adam proclaimed God dead and his outline invalid and void. Afterwards, he made his own smudged picture in the expected nonappearance of God and in the unfortunately genuine nonattendance of lady who is physically and profoundly correlative and fundamental (Hogsette 558). The outcome is a massive outer articulation of inner debasement, the spread of existential confinement and despair, and the annihilation of kinships, families, and groups that were, by configuration, made for the propagation, improvement, supporting, and solace of humankind.

Some scholars tend to address Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein as “a text of nascent feminism that remains cryptic … simply because it does not speak the language of feminist individualism which we have come to hail as the language of high feminism within the English literature” (Spivak 254). The point that the scientists are trying to make here can be interpreted as follows. Being a citizen, humanist, and artist, Mary Shelley did not approve of the colonial policies of the British Empire. She was one of the opponents of imperialist philosophy. Mary Shelley has become one of the first female writers whose works stood out (in a good way) from the rest novels created by the female writers. Apart from that, Mary Shelley’s magnum opus can be classified as a piece of science fiction. Building on that, one can presume with utter surety that Mary Shelley was familiar with the latest scientific and technological developments that some of her contemporaries brought forward.

All things considered, “Frankenstein is not a battleground of male and female individualism articulated in terms of sexual reproduction (family and female) and social subject-production (race and male)” (Spivak 254). Judging from the assertion quoted above, it is possible to make the following conclusions. Arts in general and literature in particular are not the areas for gender self-actualization. Literature, as any other form of art, is a medium through which communication between artist and the audience takes place. Social, cultural, historical, economic, political, and environmental issues, in a way, determine the ways in which artist employs the expressive means of their art form of choice. Lastly, in her novel Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus, Marry Shelley employs the principle of binary opposition. “The binary opposition is undone in Victor Frankenstein’s laboratory, an artificial womb, where both projects are undertaken simultaneously, though the terms are never openly spelled out” (Spivak 255). Developing his statement further, the researcher makes few other important observations. It is unimaginable not to see the accents of transgression curving Frankenstein’s decimation of his examination to make the future Eve. Indeed, even in the research center, the lady really taking shape is not a bodied cadaver but rather an individual (Spivak 255). The illogic of the analogy offers her an earlier presence which Frankenstein prematurely ends as opposed to a foremost passing which he embodies: “The remains of the half-finished creature, whom I had destroyed, lay scattered on the floor, and I almost felt as if I had mangled the living flesh of a human being” (as quoted in Spivak 255). In other words, the opposition upon which Mary Shelly builds up her story is the opposition between reasons and feelings, science and intuition, rationalism and experiment.

Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmad Saadawi: Stylistic Peculiarities, Motives, and Themes

As far as the novel Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmad Saadawi is concerned, the author himself claims that the work contains only two references to Mary Shelley’s work, namely, the one that was made by a German journalist, and another made by Bahir Al-Saeedi (Najjar). Apart from these two references, the general population of Baghdad in the novel call the bizarre beast the “what’s-its-name” or “the person who does not have a name”, and maybe it doesn’t concern them whether it would appear as Frankenstein or not (Najjar). Regardless of this, Frankenstein in Baghdad manages an alternate subject from that of Shelley’s Frankenstein. In this novel, Frankenstein is a consolidated image of the present issues in Iraq. The Frankenstein’s climate of awfulness was firmly pervasive in Iraq amid the period secured by the novel (Najjar). The what’s-its-name has three translations, each of them made by one of three maniacs (Najjar). Since the monster in the novel by Ahmad Saadavi was made of the body parts that once belonged to people of various ethnicities, race groups, and social classes, the monster can still give insight into what Arab identity actually is (Najjar). According to the statement noted above, it is possible to assume that Hadi Alatak’s monster is both a multiple and split personality (Najjar). Iraq has experienced the incessant issue following the time when it was built up ahead of schedule in the twentieth century. The issue of Iraqi national character viciously blasted after the toppling of Saddam Hussein’s administration (Najjar).

Another method for understanding it is that the creature speaks to the hero, given its longing to take revenge for all casualties. Conveying equity to the expanding number of casualties in Iraq today implies salvation for everybody. Here, we sense an impression of the mystical vision of the idea of salvation being accomplished by a solitary individual. The novel verifiably addresses the idea of salvation. Such an idea has frequently prompted the arrangement of political fascisms in the Arab world and the nations of the Middle East. Lamentably, fascism still exists in Iraq and has not disappeared with the end of Saddam Hussein’s oppressive administration. A third perusing sees the creature as the exemplification of mass annihilation. As such, the what’s-its-name turns into a sensational representation of obliteration that has been developing with a kind of a snowball impact (Najjar). The characters showing up in the tenth section, which is told by the what’s-its-name, are more typical than reasonable, yet they serve as illustrations of the key and pivotal figures in Iraq (Najjar). The pedant, for instance, might as well be called Bahir Al-Saeedi, and the performer is like great crystal gazer who works in the novel for the Iraqi government. The utilization of imagination renders the book to all the more enthralling, offering furthermore an opportunity to manage reality in an untraditional way. The component of imagination adds a touch of bliss to the work, alleviating its cold-bloodedness (Najjar).

The third part has an auxiliary capacity and tells how a meandering soul enters the body of the what’s-its-name. It additionally reflects when all is said and done, what goes ahead in the psyches of the individuals who cannot protect their friends and family whose bodies have been blown to pieces. They think the spirits of their friends and family continue searching for their cadavers. On a more profound level, this part indicates how, in times of disorder and roughness, we all move like meandering spirits without finding a minute of security (Najjar). The novel, on the other hand, says the inverse. The what’s-its-name mirrors our own models of equity, reprisal, retribution, and discipline. What is equity for one gathering is foul play for another. The Iraqi Frankenstein comprises of the body parts of casualties who have place with various gatherings, each of the perspectives alternate as its foes. Along these lines, this Frankenstein will wind up executing itself. At the end of the day, the what’s-its-name is the anecdotal representation of the procedure of everybody killing each other. This character is the visual representation of the bigger emergency instead of the arrangement (Najjar).

Ahmed Saadawi begins his novel Frankenstein in Baghdad with a terrorist act, a bombing that devastates a vast area within the Iraqi capital (Lindsey). The descriptions of the aftermaths of the terrorist act in the novel are by all means vivid and terrifying. Outbreaks of brutality, as unavoidable and strange as tempest, are the pieces of the air in the book, which simply won the 2014 International Prize for Arabic Fiction. The events of the novel by Ahmad Saadawi take place in Baghdad in 2005. The author, however, creates an alternative reality. Death, grief, and loss were upon the citizens of the Iraqi capital as the bombardment destroys some of its districts. When the novel makes a swing to the extraordinary, it scarcely stuns. In the blast’s consequence, a man named Hadi al-Attag, being moderately aged hard-drinking scrounger and ancient pieces dealer, dallies at the scene, smoking a cigarette (Lindsey). As fire fighters hose the last human remains, he comes to down and gets a nose, the exact thing he needs to finish a body. It was made up completely of the disposed parts of besieging casualties that he has been gathering in mystery. A tempest hits the city and the body vanishes. Taking after an interesting chain of occasions, the creature becomes alive and begins taking reprisal on its executioners. It discovers that its body parts fit in with culprits and innocents; its vigilantism is muddled by the need to keep murdering essentially to renew itself. In a meeting, Saadawi said that his “Frankenstein” is the anecdotal representation of the procedure of everybody murdering everybody (Lindsey). The story pivots on a vast cast of characters, moving energetically from feeble rear ways to gated mixes, drawing a reader into a web of strange wrongdoings with snippets of infrequent gentility whether from tattling neighbors or counsel swapping phantoms (Lindsey).

The book’s viciousness and feeling of political direness is normal in contemporary fiction within the Arab world in general and the people who speak Arabic language in particular (Lindsey). For Western crowds, Arabic writing in interpretation is a precious counterpoint to media reports and clearing politico-social hypotheses, introducing the audience to the broadness of the area’s imagination and the profundity of individual encounters (Lindsey). Saadawi is the primary Iraqi to win the I.P.A.F. (frequently referred to as the “Arabic Booker”) now in its seventh year, and his triumph has been hailed by kindred Iraqi and Arab scholars as an indication of the flexibility of Baghdad, a truly abstract and educated city that has endured colossally since the ban of the nineteen-eighties (Lindsey). The eminent Al Mutanabbi Street, named by a popular tenth-century writer, where Baghdad’s book retailers show their products under colonnaded curves, was the objective of an overwhelming besieging in 2007 (Lindsey).

Al Mutanabbi Street starts there, a voyaging gathering of uniquely crafted books roused by the historically significant area was the reaction to this disaster (Lindsey). The I.P.A.F. is supported by Abu Dhabi, and, in the same way as other late demonstrations of social support with respect to the phenomenon of the Arab world, it is an for territorial and universal acknowledgment. The district has the most generally dynamic state supporters of society such as, for example, Baghdad, Damascus, Cairo, that have also been crushed and depleted by intrusions and uprisings. There is a sure incongruity of the government’s actions of the oil-producing and oil-exporting countries of the East, where opportunity of expression does not precisely thrive, and where the abstract legacy comprises to a great extent of oral verse, a convention that proceeds right up until the current artistic era. Developing the statement further, the researcher makes an assertion that the American way of life was largely idealized and idolized. Thus, the concept of the “American Idol” has come into being and prominence (Lindsey). As a result, it happened so that the Western and Asian literary traditions have begun to merge (Lindsey).

Yet, to encourage essayists over the locale, the fifty-thousand-dollar prize and the guarantee of interpretation and production abroad is be all means desirable (Lindsey). The I.P.A.F. was designed, according to the information available on their website, to address the constrained universal accessibility of top notch Arab fiction (Lindsey). In addition to that, in the years after the terrorist attack against the World Trade Center and Pentagon in September 11th, 2001, Western people began to interest themselves in the Arab world and, mostly, the literature that came from that particular part of the world (Lindsey). For example, a novel by the Egyptian author The Yacoubian Building has paved its way to the Arabic literature in Western markets (Lindsey). Not a small amount of pass-time activities has been considered what the Iraqi writer and N.Y.U. writing teacher Sinan Antoon calls “criminological”. Thus, books were incorporated in the aforementioned novels to analyze the political pathologies of the area. What is more, the distributers have an inclination for as far as anyone knows dubious material (additional focuses if a book has been banned or guarantees to take the readers “behind the cover”) (Lindsey).

In any case, we ought to commend the way we have more prominent access to more abstract works from the Arab world than any other time in recent memory during an era when the local writing is multiplying with new methodologies, classes, and voices. The finalists Saadawi beat out for the prize incorporated “A Rare Blue Bird That Flies With Me”, a record of a messed up upset against the ruler of Morocco and the severe suppression of the alleged years of lead. Additionally designated was Tashari, another Iraqi novel that narrates the life of a female nation specialist in the nineteen fifties and the dispersal of her emigrating kids (the title is an Iraqi expression that signifies ‘a shot from a chasing rifle scattered in a few headings’) (Lindsey). The Blue Elephant is a work that portrays hallucinogenic Egyptian murder secret set in a psychiatric clinic (Lindsey).

Saadawi’s book will presumably not be accessible in English for quite a while. Bloomsbury Qatar, another distributed engraving that plans to make more Arabic writing accessible in interpretation, has recently discharged an English interpretation of the 2010 I.P.A.F. champ, a Saudi novel called She Throws Sparks (distributed in the US as Tossing Sparks), which is dull and realistic to a great degree. On the principal page, the storyteller – a procured authority from the ghettos of Jeddah living and working in the royal residence of a shadowy, startling expert – sodomizes one of the expert’s foes, a type of torment we learn is his undesirable employment. This spring, Bloomsbury Qatar will likewise discharge the 2011 I.P.A.F. champ, the Moroccan essayist Mohammed Achaari’s The Arch and the Butterfly, which narrates the story about a moderately aged liberal who finds that his child had become a jihadist and died in Afghanistan (Lindsey). Another I.P.A.F. runner-up, the Syrian author Khaled Khalifa, is about to present his work No Knives in the Kitchen of This City, an awful family adventure set in Aleppo that traverses a large portion of a century of Baathist standard (Lindsey). The American University in Cairo Press anticipates publishing the novel by Khaled Khalifa (Lindsey).

According to Ahmad Saadawi, the I.P.A.F. has had an effect inside the Arab world too. Specifically, in his interview, the author clarifies that when he had been to the Cairo International Book Fair, a few book shops and distributers were advancing I.P.A.F. victors. For example, the novel The Bamboo Stalk, an I.P.A.F. laureate of 2015, has earned itself worldwide popularity (Lindsey). The novel tells the story of a young man and his family of Kuwaiti origin (Lindsey). The family has a Philippine servant (Lindsey). All in all, the book addresses the question of “the peasant status of workers” in the region of Persian Gulf (Lindsey). Poverty, poor educational opportunities, inequality, and freedom of press are only some of the social issues that the Arab world, unfortunately, is challenged by these days (Lindsey). Clearly, the aspects noted above are being addressed, artistically reconsidered, and reflected on in the works of modern Arab writers. This, in its turn, does not necessarily mean that the Arab people and society are demoralized. Modern Arab writers may be writing about terrible things in their works. What is left, in this case, is to address the questions of author’s intention and message behind each piece of fiction being discussed or analyzed.

Frankenstein in Baghdad has been awarded a very prestigious and valuable prize for a good reason. The investigation was conducted prior to I.P.A.F. awards (Lindsey). Many scientists and researchers have read many literary works, and Frankenstein in Baghdad was chosen to become a laureate (Lindsey). The prize board of trustees has added a scholars’ workshop to its exercises with Saadawi being a graduate (Lindsey).

The states of the Middle East have never been in the state of distress more than they are today, whether they have been destabilized by outside intercession, partisan strife, religious radicalism, or the requests of nourished nationals. The administrations’ belief systems, which once held out the guarantee of poise and headway, have gotten to be tattered spreads for defilement and constraint; the apparition of their own disintegration is one of their fundamental preparing strategies. One can just lament the stunning waste, mayhem, and enduring involved. In any case, Arab authors are sewing the pieces back together once more; what rises may not be pretty, but it is now rather intriguing (Lindsey).

Ahmad Saadawi is believed to employ the stylistic features of Magical Realism in his works (Milich 295). With regard to this, the author widely uses the notion of injury. By re-contextualizing the political causes and social results of injury and setting them in up to this point with unconsidered or quieted politically hazardous interrelationships, this writing is a standout amongst the most significant types of abstract political written work today in Mashriq and Maghreb social orders (Milich 286). As opposed to the frequently unequivocally ideologized “conferred writing” of prior decades, its point is to reveal an insight into the politically- and socially-inspired roots and laced causality of bad form, viciousness, and disappointment without spreading a solitary and exclusively legitimate perspective of reality (Milich 286). Other than the socio-political worries or taking care of business, this writing declines to enjoy the instrumentalization of human enduring and difficulties; thus, in this way, it has a mending minute (Milich 286).

By and large, Ahmad Saadawi has artistically reconsidered the ways in which heinous, calamitous events can be portrayed in a work of literature (Milich 286). The mode of narration in his novel calls for comforting and liberating the audience. However, at the same time, Frankenstein Baghdad can be viewed as an example of the novel in which the notions of trauma, subject matter, narrative techniques, and, perhaps, even more specifically, the aesthetics on the whole (Milich 286). Hence, Frankenstein in Baghdad can be viewed as a controversial work by all means. Why writers use traumatic subject matter to explore primarily new aesthetic and literary forms, stems from their intention to re-define the narrative techniques (Milich 286). In addition to that, the ways the authors employ the expressive means largely depends on the need of being relatable to contemporaries’ problems and respond to the challenges of the day. Building on that, it is possible to presume that the authors are always bound to prevailing literary and artistic discourses (Milich 286). At the same time, however, it cannot be denied that men of letters are also influenced by the reality of society and socio-political discourses (co-)generating this reality, which may, when faced with extreme suffering and injustice, force them to feel that it is improper to give priority to aesthetic concerns (Milich 286).

In this context, the author’s perspective, the author point of focalization, proves essential since it makes a difference whether he or she includes autobiographical material in his/her writing, bearing witness to his/her own traumatization, or if he or she re-narrates, for instance, takes into account or addresses the experiences of real people, those who have encountered the traumatic events of any kind (Milich 286). Decisive in representing traumatic events is, finally, the genre or literary form chosen by the authors (poetry, horror, documentary novel, choreography, biographical theatre) (Milich 287). In our first example the choice of the genre of poetry goes hand in hand with a metaphorization or allegorization of the traumatic situation. All things considered, metaphorization or allegorization of the traumatic situation can be viewed as the basic creative principles employed Ahmad Saadawi.


Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus and Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmad Saadawi are the two novels, bound by the characters that have very much in common. A bit less than two centuries separate the two works. Still, the topics that the authors of the suggested literary pieces address remain relevant and topical to these days. Both novels give insight into the historical, cultural, political, economic, social, and environmental background of the respective eras the each of the authors represents. After a thorough investigation of both works, it is possible to make the conclusions as follow. Both novels being analyzed have very much in common in terms of characters and characterization.

National character, its peculiarities, and worldview are the major threads woven into the canvases of each of the works under consideration. By and large, the principal difference between the two novels lies in the authors’ respective intentions and the problems being discussed. The war in Iraq, distress in the Middle East, its social, economic, political, and cultural aftermaths – each of these represents what Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmad Saadawi is all about. Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley, in its turn, explores ethical, philosophical, and scientific issues , such as life and death, the good and the evil, science and experience, reason, sentiments, freedom of will, responsibility, knowledge, conformity, independent (unconventional) thinking. Both novels are unique in themselves and are worth reading.