The book, WE, by Yevgeny Zamyatin, was about a Mathmatician who fell in love with a Women in a state which had no freedoms and life was bounded by working for the collective. In the book, people wore the same clothes, marched the same way, given similar names(D-503) and were expected to work at maximum strength.
This book struck me in several ways. The setting struck me in that it reminded me of the early years of the Soviet Union where the state had promoted the goal of working for a common goal: a state rid of exploitation and class division. This state promoted a sense of sameness where no one would deviate away from the collective. Anyone who would did deviate from these ideals would be seen as an enemy of the state. In the book, We, D-503 meets a woman named I-330, who doesn’t believe in the rules of the system. In Record Six, she stated that “to be original means to somehow stand out from others. Consequently, being original is to violate equality…”1 This struck me because in the Soviet Union, everyone worked for the collective. Everyone worked hard to accomplish goals as one. No one was able to create or accomplish things no their own. As I-330 puts it, the very fabric of originality would violate the very ideals of equality both in the book and in the Soviet Union.
In a way, this book paints a picture of how life in the Soviet Union following the Revolutions of 1917 and the Civil War were supposed to be. The Communist party strove for a society where individuals like I-330 were harmful to society and the people would work collectively to help push the state forward.
- Yevgeny Zamyatin. We. Translated by Natasha Randall. New York: Modern Library, 2006, 27 [↩]