We

by

Yevgeny Zamyatin

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We: Record 16 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Several days have passed since D-503’s last entry. He’s lovesick over I-330 and can’t stop thinking about her disappearance in the Ancient House. He’s only seen her once since then, and briefly, on a walk. She was with S, the thin doctor, and two other unknown people. D-503 overheard someone in the foursome mention the Integral.
When D-503 overhears S, I-330, the thin doctor, and the other ciphers discussing the Integral, it foreshadows MEPHI’s plot to steal the rocket and overthrow the One State. The relative flippancy with which D-503 dismisses what he hears evokes a willingness to turn the other way when it comes to I-330. His love for her makes him behave irrationally. 
Themes
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Repression of Desire  Theme Icon
That evening, I-330 has a pink ticket for D-503. Excitedly, he waits in his room for 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 days. He wonders if I-330 is the cause of this surveillance.
D-503’s instinctual jealousy demonstrates how love makes him behave irrationally. It’s also a nod to his all-consuming fear of the unknown: he can’t stand not knowing what she’s doing, and with whom.
Themes
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Fear of the Unknown  Theme Icon
D-503 can no longer bear I-330’s absence, so he calls her, but he hangs up the phone before he can speak to her. Instead, he leaves his apartment and goes to her. These events, D-503 explains, unfolded yesterday. He continues his record of the night’s events: at 16:00, he goes to I-330’s apartment. He imagines that she will respond coyly to his desperate visit. Eventually, D-503 realizes that it’s after 17:00 (the end of the Personal Hour), so it’s imperative that he visit the Bureau of Medicine to get a doctor to say that he’s sick to excuse his lateness.
Increasingly, D-503 is willing to break the One State’s rules, such as lying to get out of work, in order to be with I-330.
Themes
Individuality vs. Collectivism  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 him. D-503 is worried S will turn him in, but they arrive at the Bureau of Medicine, where the thin doctor with the “scissor-lips” informs D-503 that he appears, most unfortunately, to have acquired a “soul,” which is incurable. The only way to rid the body of a soul is to undergo the Operation and cut out the brain’s capacity for imagination.
Having a “soul” means having the agency to act on one’s repressed desires, and this negatively affects the One State’s ability to control its citizens. The fact that such an extreme procedure (the Operation seems most akin to a lobotomy) is required to keep ciphers in check speaks to how inadequately surveillance is able to suppress human urges.  
Themes
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Repression of Desire  Theme Icon
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The thin doctor tells a second doctor that D-503 is the Builder of the Integral; he responds by nodding and leaving the room. The thin doctor examines D-503. He tells D-503 that he’s not the only cipher with a soul—that the sickness is an “epidemic.” The doctor tells D-503 to take long walks to help with his insomnia and dreaming—specifically, he tells him to walk to the Ancient House. D-503 looks at the doctor and imagines he sees “something wrapped up in the fine fabric of his smile—[…] a particular name…” The doctor writes D-503 a sick note and D-503 leaves, feeling as though tomorrow’s adventure will be joyous.
D-503’s position as the Builder of the Integral makes him an invaluable asset to the One State’s success. When D-503 sees “something wrapped up in the fine fabric of [the skinny doctor’s] smile,” he’s implicitly wondering whether I-330 might be involved with the doctor’s decision to let him off the hook for being late.
Themes
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Fear of the Unknown  Theme Icon