We

by

Yevgeny Zamyatin

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We: Record 37 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
It’s morning at the cafeteria. A cipher tells D-503 to eat, and he forces a smile, though it feels “like some kind of crack on [his] face.” D-503 walks outside and sees birds in the air. The cipher with “the overhanging-forehead” approaches D-503 and tells him that the Green Wall has been breached. D-503 demands to know where I-330 is, but the man responds incoherently. Stating “She is here, in the city, activated. Oh yes—we are activated!” D-503 doesn’t know who is the “we” the man is talking about. D-503 looks around and sees “hundreds just like” the man, walking around “swallowing the storm with open mouths.”
D-503’s confusion about the other cipher’s use of the word “we” conveys his overwhelming sense of alienation. After learning of I-330’s possible betrayal, he feels alienated from both MEPHI and the One State—he’s completely on his own now, neither belonging to nor able to trust either group. The hundreds of other people who are “just like” the other cipher refers to ciphers who have received the Operation and are now machines, unable to think for themselves, “swallowing the storm with open mouths” and obeying the One State unconditionally.
Themes
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Alienation Theme Icon
D-503 runs to I-330’s building. He waits outside her apartment but doesn’t see her. He looks through the glass walls into her room and sees a pile of pink tickets with his digits on them and begins to laugh. He also sees a ticket with the letter “F” on it. He continues to wait for I-330 in the corridor outside her apartment. Eventually, he returns home and passes out in his bed.
When D-503 sees the other pink tickets in I-330’s room, it provides him with further evidence that she was only using him—and others—as a way to gain control of the Integral and overthrow the One State. It’s a sad and alienating moment for D-503: he realizes that, as strongly as he felt for I-330, their relationship was built on lies, and he never really knew her.
Themes
Alienation Theme Icon
Fear of the Unknown  Theme Icon