Reminder: Post Questions about ‘We’ & Essay #2 drafts

Hi everyone:

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!

Professor Belli

Class Discussion: Lingering Questions/Confusions/Ideas about ‘We’

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.

Changes in the One state

I must say, throughout these chapters many things were thrown at us. I felt as if these entries were the main part of the whole book, from what I read so far. From entires 17 to 26 many things are spoken of, such as D-506 way of thinking, I-330 real plan in. The One state, and the chaos that was revealed in the last entires. Chaos not only was happening in the life of D-506, but also for the One State.


It’s crazy how the main character is this story, which is also the narrator, telling us the story. Is changing his mind of viewing the One State. From what I’ve observed he is also looking and admiring everything around him. But in these chapters he can’t think well. And there’s one person doing this to him. I-330. She has impacted his life so much, D-506 didn’t like her at first. The more she spoke to him, the more he supposedly would hate her more. In entry 17 we notice, after I-330 and D-506 had their intimate moment, she left him wanting him wanting her even more. He wasn’t thinking right, everyone notice it around him. He was in love. “I called quietly, “I-330 Are you here?” Then, still more quietly, with eyes closed, scarcely breathing, as though I were already on my knees before her, “Darling!” (94) he only had her on his mind. While all this is happening we notice  O-90 was also in love with D-506. It got to the point where she begged him, to have his baby. This all was new to me. It kind of changed my views of D-506, it was as if he had lost his identity. He only cared of being with I-330. I saw a whole new side of D-506. What love does.


While D-506 was in his own world trying to find his true love, she was in other things, when I-330 had intimacy with him, I felt as if she had introduced a whole new world to D-506. He didn’t know what she was doing, he just followed and did what every she wanted him to do…..most of the times. Throughout the chapter we didn’t get to really see what she was up to, because she had disappeared for a while. When we finally do see her, she acts weird. D-506 wanted to be with her in a reunion and she declined his invitation. I was wondering why, and we later find out that she was planning to rebel against what was going on in the One State.


“Who is against?”……. I saw thousands of hands swing up—”against”….. I saw the pale, cross-marked face of I-330, her raised hand. Darkness fell on my eyes.(143) it’s crazy how fast the story has got, but what happens here is that there’s changes that many were not use to. When it was Election Day, everyone must vote for their ruler, but usually everyone agrees that’s the end of story, but this time around things change, many start going against it, and D-506 notices things aren’t the way they normally are. After that incident, everything changed.

D-503’s questions

From this weeks reading, we as the readers see changes in D-503 and how/what he is writing. In the beginning of We, D-503 states that he is writing this journal for the people who will be entering into One State in the future. Now D-503 is writing more about his own feelings, experiences and conflicts in his life such as his relationships with I-330 and O-90.

D-503 starts to question why exactly he is writing this, and what it’s real purpose is. “Why should I record all these absurd “dreams”, closets, endless corridors? I am saddened to see that . . . I am producing some sort of a fantastic adventure novel. Ah, if it were really nothing but a novel, and not my present life” (102-103) I am seeing that D-503 is now beginning to change the purpose of the journal because of the new life he is living concerning his love of I-330.

One conflict D-503 has is, when he is wondering if the life he lives is for himself or for One State.  “we have the scales: on one side, a gram, on the other a ton; on one side “I”, on the other “We”, the One State. Is it not clear, then, that to assume that the “I” can have some “rights” in relation to the State is exactly like assuming that a gram can balance the scale against the ton? Hence, the division: rights to the ton, duties to the gram. (115) I think what D-503 means when referring to grams and tons is how people are treated in the One State. One single person by themselves is considered to be something small, like a gram. A group of many people together are referred to a ton. Mathematically, a gram is something that has a very small weight. A ton, is 2,000 pounds, something that is big, which is why according to D-503 “tons” are viewed as more important to One State. “Rights to the ton, duties to the gram” (115) I think he feels like individuals are not supported in One State, and its main concern is all the people and not just one person.

We find out that D-503 is completely in love with I-330. He thinks about her all day long, everything he does she is the one he is thinking about and whenever he’s not with her, he is just thinking of the next time he will be with her. He is basically obsessed with her. When he is going to see her he starts breathing heavily and his body becomes weak.

Something that confused me was when D-503 “dies”. He was going to see I-330 in her apartment, but when he found out that she was not there, he automatically became nervous and thought that she was with someone else in their apartment. D-503 goes into the closet and dies for “no more than five or ten seconds” (96) After that D-503 wakes up and sees the doctor then I-330 appears. I was confused. Does D-503 actually really die then come back to life? Or did the thoughts of I-330 being with someone else besides him make him go crazy and he just thought he died?


D-503 seems to be obsessed with I-330. Most of his entries have turned about her in one way or another. What i dont understand is, if I-330 feels the same way, because of the letter he received from her. That part confused me alot with the pink slip, and then O-90 waiting for him where he lives.

D-503 seems to be a rebel in many ways in the beginning of our assigned readings in his diary entry titled “Through the Glass I Am Dead Corridor” he kind of questions his happiness “And a question stirred within me : What if he, this yellow-eyed creature, in his disorderly, filthy mound of leaves, in his uncomputed life, is happier than we are?”. Although D-503 still seems to be loyal to One State, and believes there is no other place like One State. We see this constant “what if” throughout out the reading, but strangely it only happens when he feels some type of way due to I-330. Its almost as if being unable to be with I-330 has made him feel. Not necessarily good, but he feels now, he feels desperate for her he wants her really bad. D-503 keeps bringing up the idea of a soul i form of a question mark. He thinks of himself as sic because he dreams and feels. I believe that just like in every place good or bad there will always be that person who just doesn’t’ fit just like Bernard. Maybe D-503 isn’t exactly like Bernard but he is getting to the point where he seems to be and also feels different than everyone else. He is catching strong feelings and believes to be gaining the sensation of having a soul. We also see D-503 following her orders of the pink coupon. He does it a couple of times and yet she does not even appear to give him an explanation. I-330 has never really showed him a very big interest but D-503 seems to be giving up his sanity for the way she makes him feel or as he calls it ” the incident of the closet, my temporary death, and so on.” pg 118. I-330 seems to be different, very different to the point where she is full of secrets and reveals this when she talks to D-503 on page 134.

To be honest this novel has been really hard to understand. There are some things that are pretty straight forward which are very clear to understand, but other event really confuse so I am not really sure if what i am reading is the correct interpretation of the text. There are a couple of parts in the text where children are brought up. These parts especially in his entry novel “The Infinitesimal of The Third Order A Scowling Glance Over the Parapet”. In this entry O-90 is D-503 home and she asked him for a child after the letter he had send her. I am really anxious to actually discuss the novel tomorrow in class. Its really hard to read and like something that keeps confusing you. His constant back and forth of not even finishing the sentence drives me insane.

D-503 Abnormality

D-503 is the narrator who is telling the story from first point of view. D-503 is viewed to me and probably by others to be abnormal. He is abnormal because he always alone and seem to be at places he is not suppose to be at the moment due to the Table of Hours. The Table of Hours is a schedule on how things should be hourly and who does what. Something D-503 said himself that proves that he is different from everyone who follows the rules all the time is when he said “I felt I lived apart from everyone, alone, behind soft wall that muted outside sounds. And here, behind this wall – my world”(102). That quote to me sounds like he does not feel the same emotions everyone feels in the One State. He has his own way of thinking about things on his spare time. In the quote it says that he has his own world and that is saying that he has his own way of thinking where most people might not understand him. D-503 has his own imaginary/space he lives in. He seem to be a puzzled individual who does not know what and why he is thinking about things sometimes. He is always questioning himself on wether if he is right or wrong about something happening.


In the story there are several times D-503 talks about himself being sick/ill from some disease. I am not sure if he is actually sick for real or if it is just a act. I do not know if he is saying he has a disease so that people take in consideration for his behavior. A part of the story I feel that D-503 actually has a disease is when in the text it states “obeying the doctors instruction (I sincerely, most sincerely want to get well) , I wandered for two hours along the glass deserts”(103). That quote sounds like he actually got something from the doctor to help him from his disease making it real and not made up. Other parts of the story where D-503 speak about something then suddenly talks about his sickness as if his disease got him acting the way he do. In the text where is describe this action of him bringing up his disease problem as a excuse because he is unsure on why something is happening. The story states him saying “why, then, was this gray little spot now like a cloud, turning everything darker, more leaden? Or was this again my “soul”(105). In the book soul is referred as disease. He clearly sounds like he don’t understand what is going on then figures that oh maybe it is disease that caused him to think this way.


Another abnormal behavior of D-503 is that he always seem to be dreaming. He tend to day dream and imagine about things that are actually not happening at the moment but inside his head. For example of this is when he was walking home and spotted a chair in the street that was from ancient time because it was made out of wood. The chairs that was modern of his time period was glass chairs. As he saw the chair the text states “It ran up to my bed, climbed into it, and I made love to the wooden chair. It was uncomfortable and painful”(124). The description is a little weird because it says that the chair climbed into his bed and he made love to it. How can a chair climb into his bed? This weird description can show how different D-503 is from normal people of the One State. Him also description he made love to the chair and it was uncomfortable, painful is too weird for me because isn’t love suppose to feel good.



I-330 vs O-90 – Adventure vs Boring Standards

D-503 cannot live without I-330, but 0-90 is still his. These two characters, I-330 and O-90, are total opposites, which shows what attracts D-503 towards each. His life was like any other ordinary person, regular and according to society, up until he met I-330. Now having met her his life is a complete adventure.

I feel as though before he wasn’t really living, no one in that world was because everyone does the same thing, that’s boring. His relationship with O-90 describes life of the One State, to me it’s as if they embody what a perfect “couple” would be in the One State. O-90 doesn’t seem to be a threat; she basically follows the rules to the t, although she also belongs to R-13. That part of her belonging to both confused me a little because they all know each other. As I read further along it seemed to me as though R-13 has also been in encounter with I-330. The way D-503 describes I-330 is nothing compared to how he would describe O. R-13 having been with someone like I-330, one would think he wouldn’t settle for someone so boring and plain. Being that R-13 and D-503 both share O, I wonder why R didn’t tell D-503 about him being with I-330 in detail, he vaguely told him about it, which I thought wasn’t fair to their friendship or to D-503’s “illness”.

I-330 and D-503 are better then D-503 and O. I follows the rules, D-503 can do that without her, I-330 changes the way D-503 views his society, thus changing the way he’s going about his writing. In the beginning, when D-503 has yet to meet I-330, but is still with O, he is writing for the benefit of the One State as he originally set out to do. Now that he has met I-330, his entries are no longer according to the One State, facts based, it now his feelings and sense of confusion to try to figure things out. I-330 is totally different, something he never knew existed, which is why I feel like he’s intrigued and attracted to her.

With all of these “new things” going on between I-330 and D-503, one thing that confused me was the letter O wrote to D-503 on page 106. She tells him “I cannot live without you- because I love you”(106), I thought love didn’t exist just like hunger didn’t. I’m assuming since love didn’t exist neither does jealousy, which I think is the reason O wrote the letter to D-503 because she is jealous that he’s giving all of his attention to I-330 now. I am also confused about whether or not D-503 and O had a child together, I know she asks him for this favor, and several conversations hint a little of it being true (112) but I’m still not completely sure. I hope he didn’t have a child with her because that would make me a little upset although I don’t know why it would.

D-503’s Character Change:

Upon continuing the reading of this book I noticed how D-503 has completely changed, in the beginning we were introduced to a person which followed all the rules and appeared to be an exemplar citizen of the One State. Now upon reading these entries he has become an internally conflicted character. To me personally, I feel as if D-503 is a lunatic at times with all his confusion and all of his sudden expression of emotions and actions in these entries all because of I-330. D-503 is also know learning about a thing called “soul” something which he had not heard in years something which never existed until he went to the Ancient house with I-330. I also noticed how D-503 spent many entries just expressing his emotions and how he felt different.

He also began to have very strong emotional attachment with I-330 and he became obsessed with her “My heart, fast and light as an aero […] I knew- some joy awaited me tomorrow” (We 91). He knew he had some type of feelings for her which he did not comprehend and this was shown throughout his entries. He also began to use words which expressed an emotional attachment such as “darling” to call for I-330 which showed some personal ownership (She was his love).

Through many entries D-503 went from explaining the norms of the One State and how the society function, to his personal sensations and feelings “I am saddened to see that, instead of a harmonious and strict mathematical poem in honor of the One State, I am producing some sort of a fantastic adventure novel” (We 103). D-503 himself lets us know straight forward that he has lost track of the true purpose of keeping this journal, which purpose was to educate and bring happiness and progress to the primitive reader yet know it is all about D-503 and himself with the One State put to the side.

D-503 went from attending social activities such as the daily walks to now searching for personal time in which he can be alone. This simple act alone shows various things such as him breaking the One State’s norms while changing his values “Everyone else was in the auditoriums, as prescribed by the Table of Hours, and only I was alone.” (We 103).

Towards the final entries D-503 began to remind himself the true purpose behind keeping his journal which was to basically promote the One State values for a takeover. He began to explain a ceremony which is going to be held and more of his surroundings.

I did notice the following when D-503 was taken to the doctor’s office and the following was said “I’ll tell you in confidence-you are not the only one […] about an epidemic” (We 91). This gave a glimpse of how there were more people “suffering” of having a soul in the One State and this shows a very small crack in this civilization, and which now D-503 will take part in. I am also looking forward to see if there will be other glimpse of some issues which One State faces, yet the citizens do not know of.

D-503’s ultimate decision

In these entries, we see D-503 going through a lot of hard experiences with him discovering himself. We also see how I-330 has affected him in the seventeenth entry. She has him head over heels and has D-503 come to the ancient house to meet her. This part is where it got kind of confusing to me because of all the events happening at once. He reaches the room where they are supposed to meet but she is nowhere to be found and then he goes through a dying experience(literally), and this is where I’m not sure what exactly happened. How did he “die” after he opened the closet door is probably my biggest question in these chapters.

Whats really interesting about I-330 is that she is such a mysterious character and yet a life changing character for D-503. She makes him question the things the One state says about things such as mental illness. In the first few entries of this weeks reading, he starts to question what the soul really is and if it really exists or not. In the One State it seems that having dreams means that you are having a mental illness and it is in these dreams that D-503 questions the existent of the soul. “But the horror of it is that these invisible bodies exist, they must, they inevitably  must exist: in mathematics, their fantastic, prickly shadows-irrational formulas-pass before us as on a screen.(Yevgeny 101)” We see ask about the soul at the bottom of page 101, “Does it mean, then. that this preposterous “soul” is as real as my unif, as my boots, although i do not see them at the moment? And if the boots are not a disease, why is the “soul” a disease?” This last line is so important because it marks the start of him doubting the things he was told and taught about.

There was a small part in the seventeenth entry that really caught my attention. When he is on his way to the ancient house, he sees through the green wall, a beast. The exchange between D-503 and this beast is interesting because he questions himself after a while, what if this yellow eyed creature in his uncomputed life, is happier than the people of the world state. He doubts this later where he says, “What absurdity-that he could possibly be happier than we are!”(Yevgeny 95) but I believe that HE actually believes this but can’t admit it.

In these entries, we also see D-503’s ultimate decision, impregnating O-90 and giving her a child illegally. It seems that O-90 realized D-503’s obsessive love with I-330 and sends him a letter saying she loves him so much that she is willing to let him go to I-330’s side. In the letter she says, “I cannot live without you-because I love you. Because I see, I understand: today you don’t need anyone, anyone in the world except her, the other one, and you.. understand-just because I love you I must..”(Yevgeny 106) It also seems that he is still has lingering feelings for O-90 because after reading the letter he says, “Never again. Yes, it is better that way, she is right. But why, then, why..(Yevgeny 106)” I think he finally decides to have sex with her because the first sentence of the last paragraph in the 19th entry he says, “That was the last.”. Last as in the last time he will sleep with her and I think this is also a sign of him finally getting rid of a burden and a sign of relief that he can finally fully commit his love to I-330.


Is he really sick?

In these entries that we read, we start to see more about how d-503 is as a person. he starts to drift away from describing how the One State is to his targeted ancestors and we start to see more of his personal life. So instead of being some type of maybe journal describing the society, it is becoming more of a complex diary in which he is describing his feelings. Due to there being less information in the story and it is mores of him reflecting, the entries become harder to understand.

Much like most utopian literary works, D-503 starts to question the values he was brought up with. Quite like how Bernard does in “Brave New World”. He starts to developed for feels for I-330 and O-50. He is used to just logically taking action to things through mathematical processes. Now that he is developing these human emotions, he seems quite unsure what to do. In return he is questioning a lot of facts and practices he was brought up with.  He cannot help but feel this way. This starts causing some internal conflict.  “I am saddened to see, that instead of a harmonious and strict mathematical poem in honor of the One State, I am producing some sort of fantastic adventure novel” (Page 103) ” He feels that this new mental dilemma he is going through he starts to believe he is sick. This was foreshadowed earlier in the book when he acts sick to avoid I-330.

D-503 really can be getting sick. He is dealing with a lot of emotional stress at this point in the story. He is not used to feeling these emotions so he thinks he is getting sick. It also doesn’t help that the One State is making him try to disregard his human emotion. I think this will end up becoming a huge factor in the stability of his mental state later on. He believes that these new feelings that he is having are actually symptoms of his “illness” and he doesn’t actually believe that they are real.

The big factor that is causing D-503 to feel sick is his affection for I-330. Yet it is ironic how he seems to be normal and cheerful when he is around her and doesn’t feel sick at all. This is somewhat foreshadowed earlier in the novel. I-330 questions D-503 and asks if he is still sick. D-503 suddenly “remembers” that he is sick and goes to the medical office.