We

by

Yevgeny Zamyatin

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We: Record 26 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
In the morning, D-503 reads the One State’s response to yesterday’ disrupted election in that day’s issue of the State Gazette. The State issues a notice condemning the Benefactor’s dissenters, calling them sick, and “the enemies of happiness.” It vows not to take their negative votes into account in determining the election’s results. The paper also states that the Administrative Bureau, the Bureau of Medicine, and the Bureau of Guardians will meet that day to create a State Act. These notices reassure D-503 of the State’s strength, though he also feels “lost.” On his way to work, D-503 sees a piece of paper bearing the word MEPHI tacked to a wall, and S trying to remove it. S sees D-503 and smiles at him. D-503 sees similar papers around the city as he travels to the hangar for work.
The State Gazette’s response to the disruption at yesterday’s Day of the One Vote underscores the One State’s position that freedom leads to unhappiness. By writing off the dissenters as “the enemies of happiness,” the One State reinforces that personal freedom brings about only chaos and dissatisfaction, and therefore must be prevented at all costs. Their proposed solution to chaos, thus, is to eliminate ciphers’ capacity for desire through requiring citizens to undergo the Operation. S’s smile as he removes the MEPHI sign hints at his disloyalty to the One State.
Themes
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Fear of the Unknown  Theme Icon
Repression of Desire  Theme Icon
D-503 arrives at the hangar where he and the other workers are preparing the Integral for a test flight. D-503 tries to chat up the Second Builder, though he is only able to engage in nervous, nonsensical speech. He asks him to imagine he is in a falling, failing aircraft—and about to die—yet can think only of tomorrow’s anticipated hourly schedule. D-503 affirms that this is what the workers at the hangar are doing.
D-503’s inability to connect with the Second Builder reflects his growing alienation from obedient ciphers. The falling scenario he envisions illustrates his growing skepticism of rationality and predictability. When he admires the workers’ efforts, though, it suggests that, ultimately, he still wants to believe in the power of the One State’s collectivist ideals.
Themes
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Alienation Theme Icon
Fear of the Unknown  Theme Icon