We

by

Yevgeny Zamyatin

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We: Record 18 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
D-503 writes about a dream he had yesterday in which he was in the Ancient House with I-330. She took off her dress and he followed her into the closet. The dream scared him and he woke up in his apartment. It’s becoming harder for him to tell the difference between dreams and reality. He lies in bed and thinks about the frustrating unsolvable quality of irrational formulas like square root of minus one. The existence of such formulas terrifies him, as they evoke infinity. Before, math had provided stability for D-503, but now, it brings him only fear and uncertainty. He connects this to all that is unknown behind the Green Wall.
D-503 compares his current, seemingly unsolvable infatuation with I-330 to mathematical formulas in an effort to reground his life in the comfortable familiarity of logic and rationality. His efforts prove to be futile, however, as he realizes that even math can contain an element of uncertainty.
Themes
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Alienation Theme Icon
Fear of the Unknown  Theme Icon
Repression of Desire  Theme Icon
The morning bell rings and D-503 joins the other ciphers to go to work, but there is a “fog” in his head, and he can no longer engage in the One State’s synchronized schedule without question.
The fog in D-503’s head symbolizes the fear and uncertainty he faces as he becomes more alienated from the One State.
Themes
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Alienation Theme Icon
Fear of the Unknown  Theme Icon
Related Quotes
That evening, per the skinny doctor’s orders, D-503 goes for another walk instead of joining the rest of the ciphers for an assembly. He compares himself to an “unnatural” finger cut off from the rest 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 actually from O-90.
D-503’s comparison of himself to an “unnatural,” severed finger reflects the pain brought on by his increased sense of alienation. 
Themes
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Alienation Theme Icon
In her letter, O-90 writes that D-503 is particularly special to her: that she loves him and cannot live without him. In the past few days, her world has transformed from something “four-cornered” to something “round and endless.” She knows that D-503 needs “that other woman” and not her, so she will remove herself from his Sex Day list and not bother him ever again. D-503 seems fine with what she has to say, but questions why he feels this way.
The transformation of O’s world from something “four cornered” to something “round and endless” reflects We’s thematic emphasis on the fear of the unknown. O’s “four-cornered” world was predictable and comfortable, but this new world is full of pain and unpredictability.
Themes
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Alienation Theme Icon
Fear of the Unknown  Theme Icon
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