Investigating the Effect of Nihilistic Thoughts on the Creation of Dirty urban in the Poems of Simin Behbahani and Ghada Al-samman

Article Type:
Research/Original Article (دارای رتبه معتبر)
In the history of world culture, there has always been a deep connection between philosophy and literature. Later, with the emergence of philosophical schools such as nihilism, philosophical ideas played a central role in literature. Nihilism is an ideology that is usually associated with absolute negation; therefore, in it, the meaning of life, existence and being is lost. This philosophical school expanded significantly in the late 18th and early 19th centuries and entered various sciences. Nihilists look at the world around them with disgust and create the most unpleasant and undesirable images in their minds of life and the current world; In other words, nihilistic thoughts, which are associated with despair, hopelessness, separation from society and seclusion, cause a person to be separated from their real world and constantly complain about what is not acceptable and desirable in their isolation and besides complaining about the current situation, they should address the people of Dystopia, which is the opposite of Utopia. In general, the description of dystopia, which entered literary works from the 20th century, was aimed at criticizing the existing situation, describing disturbances, advising and warning about forgotten values, and drawing people's attention to the bad state of society; Therefore, in every work that has described the upside-down utopia (dystopia), they have tried to identify the utopia and ideal city.
The present study has analyzed the poems of Simin Behbahani and Ghada Al-Samman with the descriptive-analytical method and based on the American school of comparative literature with the aim of showing the relationship between the philosophical school of nihilism and dystopia literature.
Results and Discussion
Simin Behbahani and Ghada Al-Samman, who are considered to be the famous names of contemporary literature, have used poetry as a means of expressing their feelings and philosophical thoughts. Therefore, by emphasizing the elements such as emptiness, death thoughts, despair, sadness and pessimism, which the philosophy of nihilism is based on, they reflect an image of the undesired and dirty world around them in their poems, so to protest to what should be but is not. These unfavorable images are the same dystopia that is based on poverty, corruption, war, violence, injustice, discrimination, abnormality and irregularity. Since Simin Behbahani and Ghada Al-Samman have closely touched the problems, pains and sorrows of their society, they have turned to nihilistic thoughts because of the displeasure of the unfavorable political and social situation in their country and they consider life to be nothing and undesirable. This attitude and worldview comes to the fore with the creation of an upside-down utopia (dystopia) and the expression of the ugliness of society in their poetry. It seems that the most important factor in the depiction of dystopia in the poems of Simin and Ghada is the domination of nihilistic thoughts on their mind and consciousness and it also seems that the goal of these two poets is to reach a dreamy and ideal society that is free from injustice, gender inequality, war and violence, lack of freedom for all and disregard for values.
Simin Behbahani and Ghada Al-Samman, in spite of the lack of communication and influence from each other, there is a great similarity between their nihilistic thoughts and dystopia. Both poets believe that injustice is the main foundation of dystopia and the biggest cause of the spread of poverty and classization of society, which leads the general public to despair and the society to ruin and destruction. Behbahani, who experienced the Iran-Iraq war, and Al-Samman, who closely experienced the Lebanese civil wars, have mentioned war and violence as a destructive factor in their poems, which leads to destruction and dystopia. Criticizing the lack of public freedom is one of the common features of Simin's and Ghada's poems. Because both poets believe that when freedom spreads among the general public, it follows the idealization of the society. Both poets with a feeling of despair and hopelessness of an unknown future have started to build an urban anti-utopia, where the limitations and problems of women, such as the lack of access to basic rights, lack of legal protection for women, gender inequality, patriarchy and lack of women's freedom and etc. are considered the most fundamental problems in this undesirable city. Also, in their poems, Simin and Ghada emphasize values such as humanity, kindness, honesty, non-racism, equality and non-arrogance; because both of them believe that ignoring the values and not paying attention to them will turn the society into a dystopia. Since Ghada al-Samman experienced many internal and external wars in his country and touched the limitations and problems of women in the Arab society, his nihilistic thoughts are deeper and more obvious than Simin Behbahani; for this reason, she tends to depict dystopia in layers of her poems. The purpose of both poets is to depict the upside-down utopia and express the ugliness and shortcomings of society, finding a way to eliminate these unpleasant features; In fact, they are trying to reach a dreamy and ideal city by expressing the dark corners of their society. In general, the anti-idealism of Simin and Ghada cities, in addition to revealing the political, social and cultural conditions governing their land, shows a wide range of personality and philosophical thoughts of these two poets.
Journal of Research in Comparative Literature, Volume:13 Issue: 52, 2024
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