We

by

Yevgeny Zamyatin

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S-4711 Character Analysis

S-4711 is a Guardian, or member of the One State’s police force charged with monitoring ciphers’ daily activities. Secretly, he is a double agent, involved with MEPHI. He monitors D-503 carefully, which makes D-503 paranoid about being watched, but also grateful, as he views S-4711’s presence as fortunate, as it makes it easier for him to stay loyal to the One State and not act on his increasingly rebellious influences. S-4711 most often appears in critical moments in We, intervening in D-503’s multiple near-arrests. D-503 describes S-4711 as cunning and snake-like, emphasizing his twisted, S-like characteristics. The double-bends in the shape of the letter “S” also seem to evoke S’s status as a double agent.
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S-4711 Character Timeline in We

The timeline below shows where the character S-4711 appears in We. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Record 2
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Alienation Theme Icon
Fear of the Unknown  Theme Icon
...a male cipher walking next to her, who has a bent body that resembles an S. D-503 becomes increasingly riled in I-330’s presence and rattles off more logic and praises his... (full context)
Record 3
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Repression of Desire  Theme Icon
...he’s joking, but he’s not: he knows that life used to be this way, as One-State Science confirms it was so. Even today, there are “minor incidentals” that hint at the... (full context)
Record 7
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
...involved in the Integral’s design. D-503’s daydreams of logic and rationality are interrupted by the S-shaped man, whose tag reads S-4711. S-4711’s penetrating gaze threatens D-503: it is clear to D-503... (full context)
Record 12
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Repression of Desire  Theme Icon
...to work on the subterranean rail, he thinks about how excited he is about his Sex Day with O-90, as it will restore order to his life. D-503 thinks about R-13’s... (full context)
Fear of the Unknown  Theme Icon
Repression of Desire  Theme Icon
D-503’s thoughts are interrupted when he feels S-4711’s breath on the back of his neck. At first, D-503 is worried that S-4711 will... (full context)
Record 16
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Repression of Desire  Theme Icon
Several days have passed since D-503’s last entry. He’s lovesick over I-330 and can’t stop thinking... (full context)
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Fear of the Unknown  Theme Icon
...her, but she never arrives. He imagines she is with another man, like R or S. D-503 frets over S, believing he has been watching him closely over the past few... (full context)
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Repression of Desire  Theme Icon
On his way to the Bureau of Medicine, D-503 runs into S. Ashamed and paranoid, he tells S that he’s sick. Sternly, S instructs D-503 to follow... (full context)
Record 17
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Repression of Desire  Theme Icon
...upstairs to the apartment they met in before, he hears a door slam and sees S downstairs. D-503 doesn’t want S to see him, so he hurriedly jumps into the closet... (full context)
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Alienation Theme Icon
Repression of Desire  Theme Icon
...if they were merely a figment of his imagination. At work the next day, the Second Builder tells him the cut on his finger is from accidentally touching the polishing wheel,... (full context)
Record 21
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Back in the main courtyard, D-503 runs into S, who inquires after D-503’s health. D-503 remarks that there is an unusually large number of... (full context)
Record 22
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Repression of Desire  Theme Icon
...to rationalize his actions to the guards, but they carry him away to be arrested. Suddenly, S appears and tells the guards D-503 is sick and can’t be held accountable for... (full context)
Record 25
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Fear of the Unknown  Theme Icon
Repression of Desire  Theme Icon
...and the ciphers look upon him in admiration. A poet reads an ode. D-503 spots S in the crowd and thinks about the “thread” that seems to connect S and I-330.... (full context)
Record 26
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Fear of the Unknown  Theme Icon
Repression of Desire  Theme Icon
In the morning, D-503 reads the One State’s response to yesterday’ disrupted election in that day’s issue of the State Gazette. The State... (full context)
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Alienation Theme Icon
Fear of the Unknown  Theme Icon
...workers are preparing the Integral for a test flight. D-503 tries to chat up the Second Builder, though he is only able to engage in nervous, nonsensical speech. He asks him... (full context)
Record 27
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Fear of the Unknown  Theme Icon
Repression of Desire  Theme Icon
...the words MEPHI inscribed on the rock. D-503’s memory now becomes fragmented. He remembers seeing S in the crowd and worries, as S is a Guardian, and it would be bad... (full context)
Record 28
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Repression of Desire  Theme Icon
...is interrupted when the doctor appears at the door to warn them that the Guardians—including S—are headed their way. Hurriedly, D-503 begins to write words praising the Benefactor. The Guardians arrive... (full context)
Record 32
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Alienation Theme Icon
Fear of the Unknown  Theme Icon
Repression of Desire  Theme Icon
...him closer to deciding whether he will help MEPHI or remain loyal to the One State. The Second Builder asks how much fuel the Integral will need. Anticipating MEPHI’s seizure of... (full context)
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Repression of Desire  Theme Icon
...offer to sneak her across the Green Wall—even if such a plot must involve I-330. Suddenly, D-503 sees S behind him and realizes he won’t be able to bring O-90 to... (full context)
Record 39
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Repression of Desire  Theme Icon
D-503 runs into S, who asks him why he’s there. D-503 confesses everything to S—about his involvement with MEPHI,... (full context)