We

by

Yevgeny Zamyatin

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We: Record 40 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
D-503 can’t believe it was truly he who wrote the previous 200 pages of records: “None of the ravings, none of the ridiculous metaphors, none of the feelings” make sense to him now that he is “healthy” again. D-503 fills in the reader on the events that unfolded after his neighbor told him about the universe’s finitude. He and his neighbor—and everyone else who was with them—were forced to undergo the Operation.
Record Forty marks a distinct tonal shift in D-503’s writing style: he can no longer make sense of the “ravings” and “ridiculous metaphors” contained within the middle section of his journal entries. His writing is now completely rational and objective. In a way, the Operation makes him alienated from his “sick” former self. Now that he is “healthy,” he’s regained the rationality by which his character was once defined.
Themes
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Alienation Theme Icon
Fear of the Unknown  Theme Icon
The day after receiving the Operation, D-503 reports to the Benefactor and confesses everything to him—something he’d wanted to do the entire time, he insists, but couldn’t while he was sick with a soul. Later that day, D-503 sits with the Benefactor in the Gas Room. They bring in I-330 and she is subjected to the Bell Jar. The authorities pump air out of the Jar, but I-330 refuses to talk. Tomorrow, I-330 and her cohort will be put to death at the hands of the Machine of the Benefactor. Their punishment must be administered hastily, as “there is still chaos, howling, corpses, wild beasts, and—unfortunately—a significant amount of ciphers betraying reason in the western quarters.”
Over the course of the We, D-503 becomes more willing to take responsibility for his repressed desires and irrational thoughts and actions. The Operation reverses this: he returns to blaming everything on his sickness. D-503’s betrayal of I-330 also emphasizes his return to his former self: though he was once willing to betray the State out of love for her, he now betrays her out of loyalty to the State.
Themes
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Repression of Desire  Theme Icon
A new, temporary wall has been raised to separate the One State from the wild, free world. D-503 expresses confidence in the success of the One State: “I know we will win. Because reason should win.”
When D-503 claims that he “know[s]” the State will remain powerful, he does so with his former self’s sense of certainty. The Operation rids of agency and imagination, and he is subservient to the One State once more. 
Themes
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Fear of the Unknown  Theme Icon
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