Yevgeny Zamyatin

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We: Record 20 Summary & Analysis

D-503 reflects on his prohibited intimate act with O-90. He pictures O-90 being punished for getting pregnant against the One State’s orders and wonders if the act has cured him of his sickness. If O-90 turns him in for his role in their illegal act, he will “kiss the punishing hand of the Benefactor.” In the One State, ciphers’ one “right” is to be punished.
D-503 rationalizes his unsanctioned sexual encounter with O by telling himself that he did so because she would be punished for her actions. In this way, he can convince himself that he’s indirectly contributing to the strength of the collective State as opposed to being complicit in O’s subversive act.  
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D-503’s thoughts become abstract as he considers the consequences of having rights. He firmly believes that even the Ancients realized that rights and power are interconnected. Addressing the alien civilizations reading his records who might disagree with his stance, he offers a visual analogy of two trays on a weighing scale, affirming that the welfare of the collective far outweighs the rights of individuals.
According to the One State, individual rights are dangerous because they can be used to subvert the state’s supreme, collective power.
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