We

by

Yevgeny Zamyatin

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We: Record 36 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
D-503 feels like his head is “an empty white page.” He doesn’t remember walking to see the Benefactor, only regaining consciousness as he stands before him, The Benefactor has “enormous cast-iron hands” and is large and intimidating. The Benefactor asks D-503 if it’s true that he made plans to betray the One State, and that he had tried to be an “executioner.” D-503 agrees. The Benefactor condemns D-503’s actions and suggests to him that MEPHI—and I-330—were only interested in him because he was the Builder of the Integral and would be useful to them. D-503 begins to laugh. He has the sudden urge to see I-330 and runs out the room, becoming unconscious as he tries to find her.
D-503’s choice to describe his head as “an empty white page” evokes his longing to repress his unpleasant meeting with the Benefactor. Zamyatin never reveals with certainty whether or not the Benefactor’s admission about I-330’s ulterior motives for pursuing D-503 is legitimate, but his suggestion does shed some light on I-330’s frequently unreadable demeanor. Every time D-503 described I-330 as having a frustrating “X” quality in her face, he could have been sensing her secret, unspoken motives for seeing him. His decision to run to I-330 despite learning that her love might have been insincere suggests he’s in denial about her betrayal.
Themes
Fear of the Unknown  Theme Icon
Repression of Desire  Theme Icon
Related Quotes
When he regains consciousness, D-503 sees the Machine of the Benefactor in a public square. He approaches the Machine, crying out for it to punish him. D-503 wishes he had “[his] own mother” to comfort him like the Ancients did. He wants a mother figure to “know me as—not the Builder of the Integral, and not cipher D-503, and not a molecule of the One State—but simply a fragment of humanity, a fragment of herself.”
D-503 wants to be punished because he can no longer accept the chaos that surrounds his life. He can’t stand not knowing I-330’s true feelings, and he is ashamed that he is complicit in MEPHI’s attempted rebellion. D-503’s desire to have “[his] own mother” evokes his longing to be seen, loved, and appreciated as an individual.
Themes
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Fear of the Unknown  Theme Icon
Related Quotes