Zamyatin – writer’s function to be a ‘heretic’.
1. Both a dystopia and an anti-utopia: Anti-utopia because it is enforced.
Zamayatin did not believe in the possibility of utopia.
2. D-503 as an Unreliable Narrator: a narrator account that his distorted, faulty,
biased. We are meant to be able to tell this. Their version of events differs from
the understanding of the events of the author and the reader. (D-503 is basically
brainwashed – we can hear this in his accounts of the One State. He is
subjective.) Unreliable because his perspectives shifts about. Even in the
beginning when he has only one perspective, his perspective is opposite to what
we believe. (p. 30 Dreams are a psychic disease (D-503). To have freedom is to
be a criminal (D-503))
3. The One State as a society operating on scientific principles and by means
of rigid control. The main building material is glass. Everyone can see everyone
else at all times except for when you book a sex session, then you may close the
blinds. No one may go outside the green wall (nature is outside, the One State is
inside of the walls). Their food is made of petroleum products.
4. Frederick Taylor and We’s ‘Table’. Imagines the human in term s of a machine.
Frederick Taylor wrote the time table for locomotives. Everything is entirely
organized, uniformity, they do everything at the same time.
5. Why the title We?
Because they are unified. No you, only We.
6. Nature and the attempt to negate it.
There is no nature within the green walls. The only natural thing is the river within
the walls which they harness to produce energy (making it machine-like). [And
the spider webs which cross over the walls.] Even food is not natural. It is
• Journal – becomes, not an ordered epic, but an adventure novel – unfortunately
a real-life one (91).
• Sex with I-330 for the first time; unable to perform properly with O (65-69). • Post-operation people as humanoid tractors (166). They truly become machines
and attempt to capture and force ciphers to the amphitheater where the operation
(to cure imagination and souls) is performed. The have a white flag above their
heads proclaiming the wonders of the operation and the need for everyone to
have it performed on them.
• Furry blood: both D and I related to the hairy folk outside (143-4). [I’s eyes like
the person’s beyond the wall, 83, 128).
• Natural parallel to pollen in spider webs (148) [They have tried to keep the
natural out of the One State yet the spider webs still make it beyond the green
• Adam and Eve, free will (55, 162). [Think of the equivalent to the apple in this
story.] [There are many references to A and E in WE. God let A and E make the
choice to take the apple. In the One State, it is the same. It has tried to give them
happiness when they can (food, sex bookings, ordered life, security,
employment) but no freedom.] D-503 states that with freedom there is no
happiness. Says that human kind has striven for ‘tethers’ since A and E lost
paradise to be truly happy again.
o I-330 is Eve and alcohol is the apple. After D-503 has alcohol, he splits
into two personalities; his reserved self and his shaggy, wild self.
o I-330 offers D-503 the ultimatum that God offered A and E, happiness