We

by

Yevgeny Zamyatin

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D-503’s Hairy Paws Symbol Analysis

D-503’s Hairy Paws Symbol Icon

D-503’s hairy paws repulse him because they represent life before the One State: a time when humans acted unpredictably on their animalistic impulses instead of adhering to the predictability of logic and rationality. D-503 fixates frustratedly on his hairy paws whenever he acts irrationally and unpredictably, often attempting to disassociate his logical mind from the hairy paws and the human urges they represent, thereby denying the existence of the illogical, animalistic side of his personality. When U tries to come between D-503 and I-330, for example, D-503 impulsively lashes out at U. He describes “straining to contain my other self with his trembling hairy fists” as he angrily confronts U for trying to control his life and disrupt his romance with I-330. The One State requires its ciphers to behave agreeably and rationally, so D-503 disassociates from his angry outburst and “trembling hairy fists,” attributing both to an out-of-character “other self.” D-503’s hairy hands—and his desperate attempts to deny ownership of them—shows that while desires may be repressed, repression ultimately does little do reverse or erase the presence of human urges and desires. D-503’s repeated attempts to deny accountability for the irrational actions his hairy paws commit don’t make his paws less hairy, and they don’t make his behaviors less irrational.

D-503’s Hairy Paws Quotes in We

The We quotes below all refer to the symbol of D-503’s Hairy Paws. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Modern Library edition of We published in 2006.
Record 5 Quotes

…Strange: I was writing today about the highest of heights in human history and all the while breathing the cleanest mountain air of thought, but, meanwhile, there were clouds and cobwebs and a cross, some kind of four-pawed X, inside me. Maybe it was my own paws, since they were in front of me on the table all this time—my shaggy paws. I don’t like talking about them and I don’t like them: they are evidence of the savage epoch. Could there actually be, within me—

Related Characters: D-503 (speaker)
Page Number: 22
Explanation and Analysis:
Record 10 Quotes

There were two of me. One me was the former, D-503, cipher D-503, but the other one…Before, he only just managed to stick his shaggy paws out of my shell, but now he has crawled out whole, the shell is cracked open, now shattered into pieces and…and what next?

Related Characters: D-503 (speaker), I-330
Related Symbols: D-503’s Hairy Paws
Page Number: 50
Explanation and Analysis:
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D-503’s Hairy Paws Symbol Timeline in We

The timeline below shows where the symbol D-503’s Hairy Paws appears in We. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Record 2
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Alienation Theme Icon
Fear of the Unknown  Theme Icon
...asks D-503 to show her his hands, which further embarrasses him, as his hands are shaggy: “Monkey hands,” he calls them. (full context)
Record 5
Fear of the Unknown  Theme Icon
Repression of Desire  Theme Icon
...kind of four-pawed X, inside” him. This could’ve been the result of unconsciously spotting his “shaggy” hands perched on the desk before him. He hates his hands because they remind him... (full context)
Record 10
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Fear of the Unknown  Theme Icon
Repression of Desire  Theme Icon
...jumps out of his body in protest, watching as his body grabbed I-330 “with his shaggy paws” and “sunk his teeth into her.” I-330’s eyes become unreadable. The shaggy-pawed D-503 begs... (full context)
Record 11
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Alienation Theme Icon
Repression of Desire  Theme Icon
...speaking of I-330. He thinks about his masculine features and watches as his other “wild, shaggy” self becomes jealous of R-13. D-503 regains composure and apologizes to R-13, explaining that he’s... (full context)
Record 28
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Repression of Desire  Theme Icon
I-330 grabs D-503’s hairy hands and tells him that people on the outside have had relationships with people from the... (full context)
Record 39
Individuality vs. Collectivism  Theme Icon
Repression of Desire  Theme Icon
...there. D-503 confesses everything to S—about his involvement with MEPHI, his “real self” and his “shaggy self,” about his increasingly compromised relationship to the One State. When D-503 finishes his confession,... (full context)