The Concept of Happiness in the Novel “We”
The evolution of D-503 is the crucial theme of the analyzed novel. The central character is a part of the mass, where his personality fades and subordinates his will the universal interests of the totalitarian One State. D-503 is sure that the apparatus has conquered the village with its intimate connection to nature, and a human being has already lost his devotion to the earth. Throughout the novel he transforms his beliefs and becomes a participator of the opposition group, reveals the feeling of love and dedication. However, the State does not let him experience the human’s life and subdues his personality again.
In the first chapters, D-503 appears to praise the actions of the One State, which suppresses the mental inquiries of its citizens and their lifestyle. The central character looks for the new evidence of the rightness of the One State. He finds the justification of the unfreedom thinking that this instinct is peculiar to the human being because the supreme language of the men’s intellectual communication is the exact sciences.
In this period, D-503 represents a special type of consciousness that is the main achievement and at the same time the shameful crime of the One State. This consciousness does not possess any moral guidelines: the unfreedom means happiness, violence is an expression of love, individuality becomes a crime. Therefore, the personality of the central character of the analyzed novel perceives the self as smallness in comparison to the power and magnificence of the totalitarian state.
However, from the beginning of the novel D-503 fights with doubts. He cannot feel full happiness due to the shortcomings of the imperfect world. Even though he endeavors to get rid of such thoughts, D-503 presupposes that the world is not so simple and has something that is over reason and logic. Therefore, D-503 appeals to writing notes, introspection and philosophical reconsideration of particular phenomena. The One State does not allow these activities according to it ideology. Thus, D-503 becomes not an ordinary citizen of the One State. However, the most significant personal transformation happens after his acquaintance with I-330.
The first understanding of the inner anxiety comes to the central character while listening to the music of Scriabin, which symbolizes the irrationality of the universe and mystery of human’s nature. Music as an irrational entity makes D-503 think about the opposite side of the world and human’s soul. After this event and further meetings with I-330 D-503 loses the lucidity of mind. His personality becomes divided into opposite representations. He understands his belonging to the One State and at the same time feels free because he experiences the feeling of love. This emotion inspires him and releases his mind from the strict prohibitions and violations of human rights by the state.
D-503 becomes a member of the rebellious movement that aims to make people aware of the actual state of this life, destroy the illusions that the One State has built, and break the Green Wall. D-503 is surprised by the existence of the dissidence in the totalitarian state and is happy due to the acquaintance with the like-minded people. Thus, D-503 becomes an ardent opponent of the foundations of the state, which earlier he considered to be moral and right.
However, the rebellion of the small group of people against the integral totalitarian system is not successful. The State has destroyed the memories of the central character of the novel. Despite this fact, even though D-503 loses his beliefs and critical thinking, he still has anxious doubts. That means that his personal evolution was not vain.
The path of D-503 symbolizes the existence of the strong personal beliefs, persuasions, and inner controversies that are essential to human beings. Moreover, no one, especially the state cannot rule them even taking away the free will and violating human rights. Even though the One State executes I-330 and subdues the mind of D-530, he is a fighter, who has made efforts so as to be free.
To sum up, it is possible to depict the life of D-503 according to the eight crucial events in his life. Firstly a follower (1), then a builder of Integral (2), after that a happy believer (3), he changes his mind after the meeting of I-330 (4) and becomes a doubting performer (5), who comes to the realization of the totalitarianism and genuine human’s destination (6) and fights as a rebel (7) against the State. However, this state makes him again its subject (8).
The Comparison of the Female Characters
The depiction of the female characters in the analyzed novel is peculiar: the author approaches to them with intimacy and tenderness, making their images distinct and original. In comparison to the male characters, they are more irrational, lyrical and at the same time more persistent and purposeful. The characters of O-90 and I-330 are the demonstrative examples of the outlook of the female characters in the novel.
Point of comparison
Why is it significant?
Example ( page)
Why is it significant?
“She always seems to me to look like her name,
O. She is approximately ten centimeters shorter than the
required Maternal Norm. Therefore she appears round
all over” (Zamyatin 6)
The description of the appearance is significant because it embodies not only the physical traits of the character but also represents its personal peculiarities. Considering the depiction of O-90’s appearance it becomes evident that she is calm and childish, sincere and devoted.
“Slender, abrupt, resistantly
flexible like a whip” (Zamyatin 6)
“Sweet, sharp white teeth-a smile. In the open cup of
the armchair she was like a bee, sting and honey COU1bined” (Zamyatin 124)
I-330 opposes O-90 due to her maturity, initiative, impudence, and decisiveness that the depiction of her appearance illustrates.
Symbolism of the name
“Her rosy mouth was a crescent with
its horns downward.” (Zamyatin 74).
O-90 is a carrier of the rosy color of the womanhood, motherhood and childishness. Her name is symbolical because the letter “O” is the most ancient symbol in the world. For more than two thousand years it has not change its form and embodies the image of the eternal womanhood.
The mimics of I-330 “gave the whole face
that disagreeable, irritating X, or cross-a face marked
obliquely by a cross.” (Zamyatin 50)
The name and the number I-330 point at the image of Christ in the moment of his sacrificial feat multiplied by ten. Moreover, such allusion stresses the tenfold suffering that this woman faces because she sacrifices herself for the sake of other citizens of the One State. Moreover, this “X” symbolizes the mystery for D-503 and death for I-330. Therefore, I-330 is more than rebel. She is Messiah, the World Spirit that is called to save the world and humankind.
Attitude towards the One State
"What? You desire to go under the Machine of the
Like a stream her words ran over the dam.
"I don't care” (Zamyatin 107)
Even though O-90 is not a rebel, she considers the personal happiness and life to be more significant than the prescriptions and laws of the totalitarian state.
I-330 was executed as a rebel.
I-330 aims to destroy the totalitarian system and is the leader of the opposition that prepares the rebellion. She perceives the One State to be an evil that does not let people realize their free will and enjoy the life as it has to be in the democratic societies.
Symbolism of the character
A scream that she must have a child (Zamyatin 106).
A wish to have a child is a symbol of the striving to recover from the totalitarian outlook and realize the human’s nature.
According to her persuasions, she feels that it is time the opposition destroyed the Wall and totalitarian order (Zamyatin 145).
As a rebel, the character of I-330 symbolizes the eternal opposition to the evil and striving of humankind for justice and happiness.
The Concept of Happiness in the Novel
Summary of the Concept (page)
D-503 is a builder of the Integral that is the symbol of the eternal collective happiness, the embodiment of the triumph of logic and Reason, which presupposes the utopian machinery of totalitarian order. According to D-503,
“even we have not attained the
absolute, exact solution of the problem of happiness” (Zamyatin 13) because there is still an hour per day, when people can do what they want.
However, the understanding of happiness by D-503 changes throughout the novel due to the unknown human experience of love and respect to another person.
In this period of his life, D-503 can make independent decisions and take the responsibility for them. Unfortunately, the machinery of the totalitarian state does not let him enjoy this modus of existence bringing him back to the previous life via the inhuman violence. After that D-503 starts to believe that collectivism and absence of humanity are the way to happiness: “we shall win. For Reason must prevail” (Zamyatin 218).
The analyzed concept of happiness is dystopian in its nature because it leads to the destruction of the personality and his/her values that are the guiding line in life. Moreover, such philosophical outlook that is the radicalized rationalism and mechanism throws away the things that are essential for the harmonious humans’ life such as emotions, feelings, beliefs, inspiration, self-expression, free will, etc. In addition to that, such notion of happiness does not consider the possibility of freedom as an inescapable dimension of the happy life that enables human beings to express their personality and do not follow the prescribed rules that to do nothing with the privacy.
I-303 is a representative of the opposition to the One State. Her conception of happiness is humanistic and rebellious. I-330 makes efforts so as to realize her notion of happiness in the practical life via the revolution that can lead to the overthrow of the tyrant and establishment of the egalitarian society with democratic value of the development.
In addition to that, I-330 perceives happiness to be the unconditioned opportunity of anything that means that no one can prescribe people how to feel and what to do. In particular, stressing that “there is no
last number” (Zamyatin 163), I-330 endeavors to explain that happiness cannot be the idealistic integrity of the finite elements. When it comes to its radical embodiment, then it is impossible to define it as something positive.
During the conversation with D-503, I-330 explains her position: “Happiness ... well? ... Desires are tortures, aren't they? It is clear, therefore, that happiness is when there are no longer any desires, not a single desire anymore. What an error, what an absurd prejudice it was, that we used to mark happiness with the sign “plus”! No, absolute happiness must be marked 'minus' divine minus!" (Zamyatin 171).
The consideration of happiness by I-303 represents the view of the intellectual, who dreams about it and at the same time has a concrete plan of actions that can lead to it. In addition to that, I-303 thinks about not only personal happiness and profit but understands the global social problems that do not lead people to be free in the expression of their personality.
Such understanding of happiness is strongly connected with the notions of humanism, respect for others, enthusiasm, selflessness, and devotedness.
O-90 understands happiness as an inner bond with another personality, the feeling of devotedness, care, trust, and love, which she is willing to share with D-503 as her beloved man and her future child.
Therefore, O-90 begs D-503 for a child understanding that his feelings do not belong to her. She cries that she wants to have a child that can make her happy (Zamyatin 106).
Thus, the position of O-90 represents the concept of the personal happiness. This concept is ambiguous because O-90 is not a rebel, who wants to fight for the happiness of the millions, and at the same time she does not want to live without positive feelings and lack of the essential human’s experience.
The collective happiness is not significant to her. In addition to that, O-90 does not strive to live in the ideal state, where every individual resembles a robot without any humans’ expressions. That means that O-90 is rather sober in her wishes and at the same time critical enough to understand the shortcomings of the totalitarian order of the One State.
Therefore, O-90 perceives happiness as initially personal, when she can be able to express her personality and emotions in the attitude towards another person. Such person is her child – the symbol of pure happiness that does not relate to any rationalized strategies of living.
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