The first encounter of I-330 and D-503 at the “Ancient House” was very strange. It was the first time they officially met and spoke. The way this place was described reminded me of the savage reservation in “A Brave New World”. “I opened a heavy, creaking, opaque door, and we stepped into a gloomy, disorderly place (they called it an “apartment”). The same strange “royal” musical instrument—and again the wild, disorganized, mad music, like the other time—a jumble of colors and forms. A white flat area above; dark blue walls; red, green, and orange bindings of ancient books; yellow bronze—chandeliers, a statue of Buddha; furniture built along lines convulsed in epilepsy, incapable of being fitted into an equation.” (26). D-503 describes this “apartment” like an alien world, in the one state they are so used to things being so mathematically correct and unformed that an natural place like this was quite confusing for him. Everything that seems normal to us the reader seemed very wrong and unnatural to D-503. Colors, music, and even furniture were out of the norm and “incapable of being fitted into an equation”. Another example I found was when he describes a little of the children’s room “We crossed a room with small children’s beds (the children at that time were also private property) . Then more rooms, glimmering mirrors, somber wardrobes, intolerably gaudy sofas, a huge “fireplace,” a large mahogany bed. Our modern- beautiful, transparent, eternal—glass was there only in the pathetic, fragile little window squares.”(27) In this excerpt we see how D-503 mocks the only piece of glass in the house by calling them “fragile little window squares”. From this we get a slight hint of how he feels towards the “ancient” world compared to his “modern, beautiful, transparent, and eternal” world.
We then begin to see a dialogue between the two which somewhat confusing to me, as well as D-503 himself. He has mixed feelings about I-330 and describes them as such. We find this in “This, of course was natural: I saw myself reflected in her eyes. But what I was feeling was unnatural and unlike me (it must have been the opressive effect of the surroundings). I felt definitely frightened. I felt trapped, imprisoned in that primitive cage, caught by the savage whirlwind of the ancient life.” where he describes a strange feeling towards I-330 but then quickly blames it on being overwhelmed by the ancient house surroundings. This feeling I believe will only get stronger and hopefully a little more clearer so that we the readers can better understand why he acts this way towards I-330.
“Clearly,” she interrupted me, “to be original is to be in some way distinct from others. Hence, to be original is to violate equality. And that which in the language of the ancients was called ‘being banal’ is with us merely the fulfillment of our duty. Because …” […] “Don’t you find it astonishing that once upon a time people tolerated such characters? And not only tolerated, but worshiped them? What a slavish spirit! Don’t you think?” (28,29) With this we begin to see a little more of the way I-330 thinks. She seems to have an appreciation for the ancient times and ways of life compared to the modern day that they live in. We also note that she is a bit of a rebel, some evidence of tis is shown when she tells D-503 “And if I asked you to remain here with me?” “Look, do you … do you know what you are saying? In ten minutes I must be in the auditorium […] “I know a doctor at the Medical Office, he is registered with me. If I ask him, he will give you a certificate that you were sick. Well?” (29) Everyone knows that everyone must attend this meeting yet she wants to arrange for D-503 to stay at the ancient house with her? Also can make a call to a doctor for an excuse. These are definitely things not allowed in the One State, I-330 seems to be the rebel in the story.
Excellent post Brian! I’ve chosen it as this week’s “featured post” 🙂