We

by

Yevgeny Zamyatin

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We: Record 10 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Yesterday’s execution was 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 fish gills. Grinning, U hands him a letter that she’s read and approved on behalf of the One State. The letter says that I-330 has registered him as a sex partner, and that he is to meet her at 21:00. D-503 recalls the Ancient House and doesn’t want to go.
D-503 enjoyed the execution because it reaffirmed to him the One State’s absolute power. On an unconscious level, though, it’s possible that he also needs the threat of violence to keep his desires in check. In his records, D-503 reasons that he doesn’t want to see I-330 again, though his subsequent actions contradict his claims.
Themes
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Repression of Desire  Theme Icon
It’s almost 21:00 and D-503 is heading to meet I-330 anyway. He arrives and gives her the pink ticket. D-503 expresses frustration at not being able to know what I-330 is thinking, noting the “irritating X” in her face. On her insistence, D-503 admits he was unable to report I-330 to the Bureau of Guardians. I-330 retreats to another room. When she returns, she is wearing a yellow, ancient dress. D-503 looks at her body. To D-503’s dismay, I-330 lights a cigarette and then offers him a glass of green liqueur—both of which are forbidden in the One State, as poisoning the self diminishes the efficiency of the collective State. I-330 laughs at D-503’s discomfort. 
When D-503 remarks on the “irritating X” in I-330’s face, it conveys the frustration he feels to not know what she’s thinking. D-503 frequently associates yellow objects and people with subversive behavior and the unknown, so I-330’s yellow dress reflects her rebellious tendencies. The yellow dress is also significant because it makes I-330 look like a unique individual. The unifs ciphers are required to wear do just the opposite: they are designed to make ciphers look identical to one another, reminding them that they are part of a collective whole. The green color of the liqueur I-330 drinks symbolizes the free, wild world.
Themes
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Fear of the Unknown  Theme Icon
D-503 can barely manage to dictate the next scene, as he feels he witnessed it from outside his own body, as though he were glass: “There were two of me,” he explains. I-330 approaches D-503 and kisses him, slipping the liqueur into his mouth. The “other” D-503 jumps out of his body in protest, watching as his body grabbed I-330 “with his shaggy paws” and “sunk his teeth into her.” I-330’s eyes become unreadable. The shaggy-pawed D-503 begs I-330 for sexual intimacy, calling her “my sweet,” but their assigned sex time is nearly over, and they are unable to have sex. D-503 regains his senses and inwardly proclaims his hate for her. He leaves and tries to convince himself that he’d hallucinated this odd incident. D-503 can’t sleep that night and fears that he will be unable to fulfill his obligation to work tomorrow.
It’s difficult for D-503 to write about his sexual encounter with I-330 because he wants to deny that it happened. Still, his goal in writing these records is to be as precise and accurate as possible. In this instance, his need to behave rationally and dictate his experiences overrides his hesitancy to articulate his desire for I-330’s body. When D-503 notes that he grabbed I-330 “with his shaggy paws,” he denies responsibility for his passionate impulses. By stating that he hates I-330, D-503 displaces his irrational sexual longings, purporting that they were not his own but rather came from the “other” him, a wilder being that is more animalistic and has “shaggy paws.”
Themes
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Fear of the Unknown  Theme Icon
Repression of Desire  Theme Icon
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