I’ve enjoyed discussing your essays with you individually this past week, and you all are making a lot of progress in your writing (both in terms of content and structure). I look forward to seeing the next drafts tomorrow.
Just a reminder that your complete with Cover Letter, fully revised (based on our individual conferences this past week) draft of Essay #2 is due tomorrow. You must e-mail me the correctly labeled file (your name, Essay #2, Second Draft) before class begins and bring four printed copies of your essay to class.
Please do not show up without your printed copies, and do not be late to class. We have a jam-packed class tomorrow, and we’ll need all the time we have to cover both the novel and the essay.
Also, many of you have been letting me know (in private) that you have many questions about We and that there are whole sections of it that you have been struggling with, but so far no one (except Brian … thank you to him!) has posted any questions on the post I made last week.
Please make sure to do so (by leaving a “comment” on that post) by the end of the day today (W 4/30), and we will be sure to cover all of your questions about the text tomorrow in class. I am going to explain a lot of the text, in detail, tomorrow, but in order to use this time most productively, each one of you should post at least one (but ideally a few) question you have/excerpts (with page numbers) you want to discuss.
See you tomorrow, in (cold, rainy) May!
Please use this as a place to post any lingering questions/confusions/ideas about We. Since are giving ourselves another week of class to discuss the text (and to draft/revise Essay #2), and since we of course can’t possibly discuss everything about the novel, we will prioritize what are will talk about next week using your replies to this post.
Drop a comment here to put items on our “agenda” (for our next class, Th 5/1) to discuss. List particular scenes, events, passages, excepts (please include page numbers) that confuse you, or questions more generally. If there is something you don’t quite understand about the text (and I know a number of you are having some difficulty, as this is a challenging novel), now is your chance to tell me/us about it, and to have the opportunity to go over it in class.
One of the most surprising events to me was D-503s lust to kill. He wanted to kill and the thought of it made him act almost like a dog who salivates when he/she is about to be fed. He says “Crushing her skull with something-it gives me a strange sensation of something sickeningly sweet in the mouth……and my mouth is dry” (Zamyatin Pg 205). The event was still confusing to me I wasn’t sure exactly why he wanted to kill her. His intent to was definitely there but in the end he did not kill her. He also asks U if she named someone. I speculated that he was referring to I-330 but I’m not sure who he was referring too.
Throughout the final entries we see a lot of the devotion D-503 has towards I-330. As if the great profound feelings he has for her just allow him to do anything she asks of him. He says to I-330 “And for one foolish action-for what you did the other day during the walk-I love you still more, much more” (Zamyatin Pg 132). D-503 likes I-330 because of all her rebellion and differences yet at the beginning of the book that was the very thing that repelled him from her. D-503 seems to not be all about the One State anymore but more all about I-330.
We do see hesitation throughout the book from D-503. He seems unsure of whether or not to follow with I-330 but his love for her makes him continue to follow her. He does have a discussions it’s her where he disagrees with her about the revolution against the One State. He says to her “But I-330, you must understand-this was exactly what our forebears did during the Two Hundred Years War” (Zamyatin Pg 175). I-330 is trying to explain the revolution to D-503 but he seems to not understand it. As he also doesn’t understand the reason why there has to be a revolution. He believes in that the Two Hundred Years War was the last revolution and that there could be no others.
Sadly at the end of the book we see D-503 go through “The Operation” which caused him to forget his feelings and pretty much revert back to the D-503 we met at the beginning of the book. He confesses everything he knew to the Benefactor and all the plans that were made. We also learn that I-330 did not and would not say anything. They put her through the torturous gas chamber more then twice and she would not speak. D-503 also does not recall her and has no feelings toward what she is being out through. The last line of the book was a very interesting one. I felt like it gave the book a very dramatic effect. As it says “Because Reason shall prevail” (Zamyatin Pg 232). The way the word reason was capitalized in that sentence made me feel like it was capitalized for a reason. It wasn’t the beginning of the sentence so it was definitely done to give the word more emphasis.
Last but not least I definitely enjoyed reading Brave New World more than I did this book. I felt like the book really dragged as opposed to Brave New World. It was harder for me to want to read this book and actually do it.
The book is still a true puzzle for me on some things and not everything. Entry 27th is the most interesting part of the last few chapters I read and I want to talk about a particular part because it was more clear to me on what was happening. I am going to talk about the reaction of D-503 and what he saw beyond the Green Wall. I knew this part was going to come in the book when someone goes beyond the Green Wall and was just waiting for it to happen.
D-503 and I-330 went beyond the Green Wall together and D-503 is more excited than her. He is so surprised he has come this far with her and did not even notice. D-503 said “I was stunned by it all, I gasped, I gagged-perhaps this is most accurate word”(155). He is clearly happy to be there with I-330. I-330 does not seem like be excited because they are not supposed to be there and she follows the rule so she is probably thinking about how much trouble she might get in. She said “Oh, no! We’ve simply come out beyond the Green Wall”(154). That quote to me sounds like she is in horror and wants to get out before anything bad happens to her and D-503. This world beyond the Green Wall is different from the One State because as describe in the text there was nature.
Another thing that caught D-503 attention was the people he saw who was dressed different. He describe the women in that world as being similar in face to the women in the One State. He said “The female had faces exactly like those of our women: delicately rosy and free of hair”(156). He was shocked because this was his first time seeing the type of people who live beyond the Green Wall. I can imagine D-503 being like a baby and learning new things. Everything he saw there was new and exciting for him. D-503 stated “all this was so incredible, so unexpected”(156). The text describe everyone who lived beyond the Green Wall had no clothing on. I can imagine the life beyond the Green Wall was not developed like the One State with technology. I would say that beyond the Green Wall that it might be compared to some third world country where some people don’t really have cloths too wear but they just put piece of cloth over their private parts. I can see that their they hunt animals for food and don’t cook food on a stove or have a refrigerator home to keep food longer. I can see the One State having some modern day technology things. Also people living beyond the Green Wall don’t have nice house or have any form of civilized society like the One State where they have someone high in power. Beyond the Green Wall is almost like when the earth first had humans, and not so populated like it is now.
I am relieved to have finished We. I thought this book was just very confusing. The few beginning entries were okay but as We progressed I completely lost interest. D-503’s emotions towards I-330 caused him to lose his whole purpose and main reason for writing these journal entries. I feel that once D-503’s love situation was introduced, thats where I began to lose interest and became confused. I thought there were too many things going on.
In D-503’s Thirty-second Entry, he writes “do you believe that you will die? Yes, man is mortal, I am a man: hence … No, this is not what I mean. I know you know this. I am asking: have you ever really believed it; believed it totally, not with your mind, but with your body; have you ever felt that one day the fingers holding this very page will be icy, yellow…” (187) This creeped me out and it was weird, it seemed as if D-503 was directly speaking to the reader and trying to get a message across. This doesn’t have much significance, I just felt like sharing how I felt about that particular paragraph.
Although I didn’t really enjoy We, the final few entries gave meaning to the whole story. It shows how much of an impact one person can have on your life, something positive or negative. D-503 met I-330 and his life completely changed. His whole purpose was to write these journal entries so they can be passed onto others so they could learn about One State. D-503’s infatuation of I-330 is where he lost his focus on what he was supposed to be doing. The final entries showed that D-503 was realizing that he lost the main purpose of writing the entries. He became too caught up in his own feelings for I-330 that he wasnt putting much effort into the journal, and used it just for his own purposes. I think D-503 knew that he wasnt following exactly what he should have done, occasionally D-503 would question things that he sees or does.
I found it hard to write a blog on this reading. I disliked this book, it was hard for me to readbecause I was so uninterested and that I found myself just reading but not fully understanding what I was reading. That made me miss important events that went on throughout We. Because of this I had to re–read a lot. I feel like Zamyatin switched up the story too much for my liking. One situation is D-503 and I-330 happy together, than D-503 is without I-330 and he is questioning everything.
Now that I’ve read both Brave New World and We, I do see that there are many similarities between the two. I enjoyed Brave New World more. I thought it was much easier to comprehend and I liked the format and the characters of Brave New World.
After finally finishing the book I realized how short it was and how it ended on a strong point, unlike Brave New World. The plot developed so nicely as we see D-503 at the end of the book reverting back to his original self, before meeting I-330. I still have many questions though for the author. If I had the chance, I would like him to confirm if I-330 was in fact in love with D-503, or was she merely using him because of his knowledge of the One State. There are times where it sounds like she is crazy in love with him but I feel like it doesn’t convince the reader that she is because even though it is just a reading, you would feel the emotion. An example of this can be seen in the twenty eighth entry where I-330 and U talk to D-503 about O-90, “I know you will believe me, not the thousand. Because, after what happened yesterday, I am open to you-all of me, to the very end, just as you wanted. I am in your hands, you can – at any moment..”(161). After hearing this, D-503 is blushing so much that he can’t seem to talk straight. I can’t help but to feel that she is saying this with no meaning and it is just words to get D-503 to become more attached to her. I also can’t help but to feel that their initial meeting in the beginning of the book was all planned to use him for the plan to take down the One State.
When the Great operation was announced on the Gazette, D-503 was relieved and grateful because this would help him fix his “sickness” hes been feeling. I found this interesting because I would think that he would be against it because of his changed self after meeting I-330. I thought after all his new thoughts on the soul and everything would help me see things differently in the One State. After receiving the Great Operation, D-503 is “Claimed” by the One State once more and snitches out I-330 and her organizations plan to take down the great wall . Although they were sentenced to the end and the ending of the book seemed gloomy, I think it is a ignition of something. A light that will eventually mark the end of the One State. There are starts of rebellion in the One State and some people from the other side of the wall get into the One State. It looks like I-330 and her organization had failed but the truth is their plan on manipulating D-503 worked to their favor and got their plan started to overthrow the One State. I think it’s sad to see D-503 go back to the way he was but I think it’s good for him now he is finally out of I-330’s palms and is living the way he was meant to, even if it might be the wrong way.
We can see his disbelief of his own feelings at the end of the book, “Can it be true that I, D-503, have written these two hundred pages? Can it really be true that I once felt or imagined that I felt-all this?”(231). It also seems that after the Great Operation, he forgot his memories of I-330 as he does not remember her as she is being tortured. Overall I think the book did a good job on the overall plot and the characters development. I would definitely recommend this book, of course, to someone who likes to read about dystopias.
While finishing reading the final chapters of “We” by Yevgeny Zamyatin, D-503 went through various emotional and mental changes. D-503 starts off on chapter 27 by going to the other side of the Green Wall and seeing a whole new world, and by him experiencing this first hand caused him to feel more liberated and true to self. By this point he began to separate himself from the One State and began to change his way of thinking. He went from being a member of a society in which he was just a speck among a whole to someone which had a sense of self identity “I was a separate entity, a world. I had ceased to be a component, as I had ben, and become a unit” (157). D-503 starts off in the book by being an exemplary citizen of the One State yet by beginning to feel separated from the society and with the wave of emotions he starts to feel since he met I-330, he ended up joining the people from the other side of the Green Wall which are considered as the “rebels.”
As the book progresses I noticed how D-503 changes his style of writing, he started off by being a law abiding citizen. Now he is an individual which is writing very emotional and intimate entries, which he himself consciously knows which he confesses on page 160. I find outstanding since it shows how someone of great intellectual and social status whom always followed the One State can change so much internally that he confesses his change of perspectives. D-503 also began to deny the existence and respect to the Benefactor, in which the Benefactor is the representation of the One State. I noticed this on the following quote “oh, for the sake…for the sake…” (163), this was an action in which he removed “for the sake of the Benefactor” and tried to replace it with a meaning of his own.
In the end of the book he began to go back to respect and became a member of the One State, which I find somewhat hypocritical since he went through all this change in character yet went back to being what he was in the beginning, a law abiding citizen. It seems to be that whenever emotions or a discovery of new evidence is present, it is a moment in which D-503 changes, because of I-330 he discovered another life, adventurous and the bad aspects of the One State. Yet when the Benefactor says “You, who were to have become the greatest of conquistadors” (212) along with finding out the truth behind I-330 was a big tipping point which caused him to react by returning to the “nurturing” One State. Not only did he return to the society, he proceeded with the Great Operation.
Overall I am happy to finally be done with book, honestly I did not enjoy it as much as I hoped. Yet it was somewhat interesting to see how D-503 developed throughout the book, due to emotions affecting him such as being with I-330. Although when I read the last sentence “Because Reason must prevail” (232) it took me a little by surprise since in the beginning of the book it was said that knowledge and happiness was the goal which they wanted to spread.
The last chapters of We were by far the most interesting out of the whole story for me. Everything came to a conclusion that left me wondering what would happen now. Even though everything is explained, I was left wanting more out of the story.
When D-503 first saw what was beyond the wall, he was completely overwhelmed by what he saw. Nothing in this world is familiar to him and the emotions it brings are too much for him to handle at first. However, as time went on he felt free, as the One State is longer controlling his actions. “Slowly, just overhead – a bird. I see: it is alive, like me” (122). He no longer feels tied down. He is also referring to himself as I and even mentioned this as the true him. That the person he was in the One State wasn’t truly what he was like.
What interested me the most was how the One State tried to take back control over its citizens. The One State knows how much perfection and unison means to the people and used this method to take them back. They called it The Operation, and used being like a machine the reason everyone should get cured. “You are perfect, you are machine like. The road to one hundred percent happiness if free…hurry to submit to the Great Operation!” (139). D-503 himself thought it was amazing when he first read it. Perfectly built machines is something that everyone in the One State valued. It’s logical, and only does what is necessary. There are no extra parts, no unnecessary functions. The people of the One State who were feeling confused after the events were probably so frightened of the unknown of the future that they voluntarily went to get “cured”. Everyone who didn’t go to get cured was forcefully taken, D-503 included.
At the last entry of the novel, D-503 began talking only through what he considered facts and reason. Because the One State has “cured” him of a soul and imagination he is exactly as he was in his first entry. There are no emotions, no individual thought. Only the facts the One State wants him to believe. “The handwriting is mine… but fortunately, only the handwriting. No delirium, no absurd metaphors, no feelings” (179). Also, after he got “cured” he started referring to himself as a number more often. He no longer says only “I” which implies individuality, he adds his number to it, which shows just how tied he is to the One State once more. “Can it be true that I, D-503…” (179) “On the following day, I, D-503…” (180). His entry doesn’t contain any questions. He even says he’s happy about not having a soul anymore. His return to the One State and its values are now complete. He is just another number now.
We to me was the most interesting read compared to Brave New World, as it shows just how quickly people can change and how fast someone can become influenced by something, or in this case someone.
I have to say, I am extremely happy to be finished with this book. This book was the hardest thing for me to try to blog about. I found this novel very hard to comprehend. I was seriously confused reading this novel from beginning to end. Honestly, I’m not exactly sure what happened throughout the whole story.
The purpose of the character D-503 journal was for unknown outside readers beyond his world. For them to understand The One State way of living, and to subject them to happiness. Throughout the story D-503 struggled with staying on topic with his writing. D-503’s interaction with the character I-330 turned his writing into his infatuation with her. In the beginning of the story D-503 was trying to avoid her. I believe that he knew that something wasn’t right with her, but quickly fell into her trap. I didn’t really understand how he fell for her as quickly as he did.
Throughout the last entries we were told to read, the story got really good. We are also introduced to what is call “the Great Operation”. No one knew at first what it was but we find out what it is, and it’s interesting the way they announce this news. At the beginning of these chapters D-503 is demonstrating that he is all for I-330, but the decision he takes at the end was unexpected. Throughout the last chapters the Decision that D-503 makes is influenced fully by the truth behind I-330 and her plans.
The entries begins with I-330 and U coming into D-503’s room, I-330 came in asking D-503 if he had given U permission to guard him from her. U persisted it is her duty, D-503 orders her out and she leaves. After this I-330 tells him that all auditoriums are closed as medics set up tables in them, she didn’t know what or why they were doing this but we soon find out, what was going on. “REJOICE! For henceforth you shall be perfect! Until this day, your own creations—machines—were more perfect than you(179)”. It was called the Great Operation. They made it seem that the machines were prefect and that humans had the opportunity to be just like them. “Prefect” the way how they made the announcement sound as if the citizens of the One state were sick. It was such an interesting way they used it, it got me thinking towards the end of how important this quote was. “historians of the One State ask for retirement so that they need not record disgraceful events. But this is not your fault—you are sick. The name of this sickness is IMAGINATION……This is the last barricade on our way to happiness.Rejoice, then: this barricade has already been blown up.The road is open”(179). This was basically the solutions to all the rebels that were trying to go against the Benefactor. This was the “cure” for the citizens of the One State. It was a solution for the Benefactor. It’s funny how the citizens were also fooled by they thought was a cure. “Run upstairs! They’ll cure you, they’ll stuff you full of rich, fat happiness, and, sated, you will doze off peacefully, snoring in perfect unison”(207).
At the beginning of the entries 28-30 we see that D-503 is with the rebellious group. It’s seems as if he has cleared up his mind of what he thought was right and now is all for I-330. The love he has for I-330 was what made him go against what he once believed was right and do things he normally wouldn’t do. “I must kill U. Kill her, and then go to the other and say, “Now you believe?”… killing is somehow messy, primitive. Crushing her skull with something—it gives me a strange sensation of something sickeningly sweet in the mouth(205)”. He was basically going to kill her to please I-330. It’s crazy how far D-503 went since the beginning of the book. At the end of the book, D-503 is crushed to hear the news that the only reason why I-330 looked for him was because he was the engineer of the the integral. “There we were tied to the tables and subjected to the Great Operation. On, the following day, I, D-503, went to the Benefactor and told him everything I knew about the enemies of happiness. How could it have seemed so difficult before? Incredible. The only explanation I can think of is my former sickness (the soul)(232)”. Although this quote was long, I felt this quote was of great significance because it demonstrated the real truth behind the “Great Operation”, this was the solution for the Benefactor for all those who tried to rebel against the One State. They had no more individuality, no more soul. They were walking zombies, not living life.