We

by

Yevgeny Zamyatin

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U Character Analysis

U is a desk monitor that works at D-503’s apartment building. D-503’s relationship with U is an ambivalent one: he is repulsed by her, frequently describing her as having “fish gills,” but he also feels affectionately toward her, seeing her almost as a maternal figure. Throughout We, U is critical of I-330’s attempts to lead D-503 astray. She feels a maternal instinct to protect D-503 from his animalistic impulses, and often comments on how sick or unlike himself D-503 behaves and looks. Symbolically, U seems to represent D-503’s ambivalence toward the One State: on the one hand, he feels repressed by her overbearing surveillance, but, on the other hand, takes comfort in her watchful, protective gaze because it keeps him in line. At the end of We, U’s desire to protect D-503 causes her to betray D-503, MEPHI, and the rebellion against the One State.

U Quotes in We

The We quotes below are all either spoken by U or refer to U. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Modern Library edition of We published in 2006.
Record 28 Quotes

“Who knows who you are…A person is a novel: you don’t know how it will end until the very last page. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be worth reading to the very end…”

Related Characters: I-330 (speaker), D-503, U
Page Number: 141
Explanation and Analysis:
Record 35 Quotes

“Because I…I was afraid, that if she was…that they would have…you would have…you would stop lov…Oh, I can’t—I couldn’t have!”

I understood: this was the truth. A ridiculous, funny, human truth!

Related Characters: D-503 (speaker), U (speaker), I-330
Page Number: 185
Explanation and Analysis:
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U Character Timeline in We

The timeline below shows where the character U appears in We. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Record 10
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Repression of Desire  Theme Icon
...purifying for D-503, and he feels more like himself again. D-503 approaches a woman named U who monitors the downstairs lobby of his apartment. She has droopy cheeks that look like... (full context)
Record 18
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Alienation Theme Icon
...of the human hand. After the sun sets, he returns to his apartment building and U hands him a letter. D-503 is excited because he thinks it’s from I-330, but it’s... (full context)
Record 19
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Alienation Theme Icon
Fear of the Unknown  Theme Icon
At 16:00, D-503 goes to his building and U tells him I-330 requests his presence. On her pink ticket are instructions to lower his... (full context)
Record 21
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Repression of Desire  Theme Icon
...to write, as he was too distracted by the sound of the wind outside. Later, U comes to D-503’s room. He watches her adjust the pleats of her unif and feels... (full context)
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Repression of Desire  Theme Icon
U continues with her story: she turned the children in to the Guardians, considering her “cruelty”... (full context)
Record 23
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
As he walks to U’s monitor desk, D-503 writes about a flower that blooms only once a century and wonders... (full context)
Record 28
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Repression of Desire  Theme Icon
D-503 is trying to write, but he hears I-330 and U arguing outside his apartment. I-330 bursts in and accuses U of trying to keep her... (full context)
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Repression of Desire  Theme Icon
...Hurriedly, D-503 begins to write words praising the Benefactor. The Guardians arrive in D-503’s room. U arrives with them and reminds S that D-503 is the designer of the Integral and... (full context)
Record 31
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Fear of the Unknown  Theme Icon
D-503 returns to his room, where U is sitting at his desk. He forgives her for her outburst about I-330 the other... (full context)
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Fear of the Unknown  Theme Icon
Repression of Desire  Theme Icon
U leaves and D-503 heads over to I-330’s place. He goes to her and hugs her... (full context)
Record 32
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Alienation Theme Icon
Repression of Desire  Theme Icon
Outside his apartment, D-503 approaches U at her monitor’s desk. She tells him about how a cipher told her he’d seen... (full context)
Record 34
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Fear of the Unknown  Theme Icon
...D-503 if he betrayed her. He insists he did not. Later on, D-503 remembers seeing U looking through the pages of his records he’d left on his desk and realizes she... (full context)
Record 35
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Repression of Desire  Theme Icon
...that night. He discovers that his head is wrapped in a steel band. Furious with U for informing the authorities of his and I-330’s plans, D-503 resolves to murder her to... (full context)
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Repression of Desire  Theme Icon
U is still not at her desk. D-503 returns to his room. At 21:00, U walks... (full context)